What are the forms of primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and what are their presentations?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

PAM occurs in 2 forms. The first is characterized by an acute onset of high fever, photophobia, headache, and altered mental status, similar to bacterial meningitis, occurring within 1 week after exposure. Because it is acquired via the nasal area, olfactory nerve involvement may manifest as abnormal smell sensation. Death occurs in 3 days in patients who are not treated. The second form, the subacute or chronic form, consists of an insidious onset of low-grade fever, headache, and focal neurologic signs. Duration of illness is weeks to few months.


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