Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis or GAE is a severe infection in the brain and spinal cord. It is a life-threatening infection. It is caused by free-living amoebae known as Acanthamoeba, sappinia pedara and balamuthia. Balamuthia mandrillaris causes a rare infection in granulomatous amebic encephalitis. The spread of these protozoa can affect the skin, lungs, sinuses and other organs in the body. It occurs when a person has a compromised immune system. GAE mortality rate is high.
The disease is due to Acanthamoeba that is related to living amoeba and encephalitis. Acanthamoeba is a free-living ameba or a single-cell living organism that can create rare but severe infections in the central nervous system. The ameba can be found in the water and soil, and may be spread in the eyes through cuts or skin wounds, or are being inhaled in the lungs. Most people are exposed to Acanthamoeba in their lifetime, but only a few of them become sick. Acanthamoeba can survive in heat, water, body fluids and tissue cultures.
The mode of infection of granulomatous amebic encephalitis is from the nasal and lower respiratory tract to the blood and then the brain. It may also occur from ulcerated skin and mucosa to the blood and brain.