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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Jun;43(6):2718-23.

Prospective study of the prevalence, genotyping, and clinical relevance of Dientamoeba fragilis infections in an Australian population.

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Department of Microbiology, St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


A prospective study was conducted over a 30-month period, in which fecal specimens from 6,750 patients were submitted to the Department of Microbiology at St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia. Trophozoites of Dientamoeba fragilis were detected in 60 (0.9%) patients by permanent staining, and confirmation was performed by PCR. Gastrointestinal symptoms were present in all patients, with diarrhea and abdominal pain the most common symptoms. Thirty-two percent of patients presented with chronic symptoms. The average age of infected patients was 39.8 years. No correlation was found between D. fragilis and Enterobius vermicularis, a proposed vector of transmission for D. fragilis. The genetic diversity of 50 D. fragilis isolates was examined by PCR, and the PCR products were analyzed for the presence of restriction fragment length polymorphisms. These results showed no variation in the small-subunit rRNA gene and demonstrated a single genotype for all Australian isolates. This study shows the potential pathogenic properties of D. fragilis and the need for all laboratories to routinely test for this organism.

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