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Int J Infect Dis. 2006 May;10(3):255-61. Epub 2006 Feb 15.

Clinical and microbiological features of dientamoebiasis in patients suspected of suffering from a parasitic gastrointestinal illness: a comparison of Dientamoeba fragilis and Giardia lamblia infections.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Saint-Pierre University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium.



To describe the clinical and microbiological features of Dientamoeba fragilis and Giardia lamblia infected patients, and to analyze the genetic variation of D. fragilis strains.


For a period of two years, all stool samples collected from patients suspected of having a parasitic gastrointestinal infection were examined according to our specific triple feces test (TFT) protocol. A retrospective case-control study was performed on D. fragilis and G. lamblia infected patients. Furthermore, PCR and genotyping by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) were performed upon the former.


D. fragilis (6.3%) and G. lamblia (7.1%) were the most common pathogenic protozoa isolated out of 448 patients studied. Symptoms most frequently encountered with D. fragilis and G. lamblia infection were abdominal pain (69.2% and 72.4%, respectively) and diarrhea (61.5% and 79.3%, respectively). However, patients with D. fragilis infections suffered significantly less frequently from nausea and/or vomiting, anorexia and weight loss. After treatment, all D. fragilis and G. lamblia infected patients presenting a negative TFT follow-up also reported a complete resolution of their symptoms. Only genotype 1 could be detected in D. fragilis infected patients.


D. fragilis and G. lamblia were the most frequently encountered parasites in our study population. Improved diagnostic tests are essential tools to study the prevalence and pathogenesis of D. fragilis.

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