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Vet Parasitol. 2004 Dec 9;126(1-2):121-44.

Blastocystis in humans and animals: new insights using modern methodologies.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Parasitology, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 5 Science Drive 2, S 117597 Singapore, Singapore.


Among the waterborne protozoan parasites of medical and veterinary importance, Blastocystis is perhaps one of the less well-understood. However, in recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the organism, fueled in part by the possible association of Blastocystis infection with intestinal disorders, and its unusual taxonomic affiliations. Although there is information on the parasite's morphology, taxonomy and mode of transmission, its pathogenicity, life cycle, and function of certain organelles continue to baffle investigators. The clinical relevance of Blastocystis will be better answered once an animal model is found. Blastocystis infections have a worldwide distribution but prevalence is highest in areas with poor hygiene and deficient sanitation services and facilities. Application of modern molecular tools has advanced knowledge of the organism's genetic diversity, taxonomy and zoonotic potential.

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