The Pasteur Museum is housed in the apartment where Louis Pasteur spent his final seven years and offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the living and working environment of the world-renowned scientist. Visitors can gain a unique insight into his everyday life alongside his wife and can admire his rich and diverse scientific work.
The Institut Pasteur’s scientific strategy focuses on developing original and innovative topics and promoting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary cooperation and approaches. The Institut Pasteur teams have access to the technological resources needed to speed up and further improve the quality of their outstanding research.
Ever since the introduction of the world’s first "Technical Microbiology" course in 1889, teaching has been a priority for the Institut Pasteur. The Institut Pasteur has an international reputation for quality teaching that attracts students from all over the world who come to further their training or top up their degree programs.
Amoebiasis is the third deadliest parasitic disease in the world. Around 10% of the world’s population is thought to be infected by parasitic amebae from the Entamoeba genus, the most pathogenic being Entamoeba histolytica, the agent of amebiasis . The large majority of infected persons often present no symptoms, but in some cases infection lead to clinical complications including dysentery and liver abscesses.
Amebiasis is caused by Entamoeba histolytica, an ameba that predominantly infects humans.
This protozoan has a relatively simple life cycle consisting of two stages, the dormant cyst and the vegetative trophozoite stage. The main mode of transmission of amoebiasis is ingestion of E. histolytica cysts from contaminated food or water. Excystation in the intestinal lumen produces trophozoites that colonize the large intestine where they spread and encyst. Cysts are excreted in stools and perpetuate the life cycle by further faecal-oral spreading
Amoebiasis is particularly common in regions and countries with poor sanitation, where ameba parasites can spread easily. This neglected disease is a major public health issue in these areas, and the effective diagnosis of cysts and preventive measures of hygiene are vital in tackling the problem.
Although infection does not generally lead to symptoms, is some cases for unknown reasons, trophozoites are invasive and destroy the intestinal mucosa causing painful, bloody diarrhea (amebic dysentery), ulcers, and in the most severe cases leading to abscesses in the liver, lungs, and brain
Between 10 and 20% of infected people may develop severe symptoms. The disease is responsible for 40,000 to 100,000 deaths each year, mainly in poorest regions of South-East Asia, South-Eastern and Western Africa, and Central and South America, where the hygiene conditions and the lack of effective sewage treatment plants encourage the spread of amebae. In some regions of India, Mexico, Bangladesh, and South Africa, up to 20% of the population can be infected. In developed countries the disease is rarer, with sporadic cases in travelers returning from endemic areas.
Acute amoebiasis is treated by taking a broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug combined with amoebicides of contact acting locally in the gut lumen. In areas where amoebiasis is endemic, WHO also recommends treating asymptomatic carriers with contact agents to reduce the risk of transmission.
Although the antiparasitic drugs currently available are known to be effective, the use of such drugs, nonspecific, raises the problem of development of new resistance in the targeted pathogen. Prevention, to reduce the transmission of cysts, remains essential. It is based primarily on the elimination of faecal contamination of water, food and hands as well as the development of diagnostic methods to identify cysts, even in asymptomatic carriers.
At the Institut Pasteur
The Cell Biology of Parasitism Unit, led by Nancy Guillén, is currently the only group in France conducting research on Entamoeba histolytica and amebiasis. The team focuses on the development of a rapid diagnostic test and in the identification of parasite virulence factors. The research also aims to discover specific therapeutic targets in the parasite that may enable the development of appropriate treatment.
Illustration - Copyright Institut Pasteur
Caption – Entamoeba histolytica phagocytizing cells in the human colonic mucosa.