Epidemiology of free-living amoebae in the Philippines: a review and update
Free-living amoebae (FLA) are considered environmental pathogens and thus pose a public health threat. Their ubiquity in natural sources may magnify the potential severity of health outcomes in the future. However, less attention was given despite several probable public health risks that arise from the presence of pathogenic strains in the environment. Here, we provide epidemiological data based on investigations involving the distribution and occurrence of free-living amoebae in the Republic of the Philippines. This aims to connect data of fragmented studies of these organisms and provide potential roadmaps in FLA research in the country. The majority of the reviewed articles (n = 19) focused on characterization studies (36.8%; 7/19) while environmental isolation and isolation from biological samples had an equal frequency of 31.6% (6/19) each. There is a great disparity between the established ubiquity in environmental sources and the number of cases of FLA infections in the country. FLA-related research in the Philippines is still in its inceptive stage with several gaps to fill, which can be used to formulate policy briefs in the future regarding its isolation, identification, diagnosis, therapeutic management, and control of FLA infections in the country.