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Indian J Med Microbiol. 2008 Apr-Jun;26(2):172-5.

Chronic diarrhoea in HIV patients: prevalence of coccidian parasites.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi-110 029, India.


The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in HIV patients with or without diarrhoea and to see an association between diarrhoea and the coccidian parasites in our setting. Stool samples from 113 HIV patients, 34 chronic diarrhoea and 79 without any history of diarrhoea were collected and examined for enteric parasites by microscopy. One hundred and thirteen control samples from HIV negative patients complaining of prolonged diarrhoea were also collected and analysed. Prevalence of coccidian parasites in HIV and non-HIV patients; with and without diarrhoea was compared using chi-square tests. Enteric parasites were detected in 55.8% HIV patients with diarrhoea compared to 16.4% in patients without diarrhoea (P<0.001). Isospora belli was found in 41.1% (14/34) of chronic diarrhoea and 6.3% (5/79) in non-diarrhoeal cases (P<0.001). Cryptosporidium was detected in 20.6% (7/34) of chronic diarrhoea and 2.5% (2/79) in non-diarrhoeal cases (P<0.001). Cyclospora cayetanensis associated diarrhoea was detected in only one case of chronic diarrhoea (2.9%). CD4+ T-cell count was lower (180 cells/microL) in diarrhoeal HIV patients as compared to non-diarrhoeal patients. Coccidian parasites were seen at a mean CD4+ T-cell count of 186.3 cells/microL. This study concluded that Isospora belli was the predominant parasite followed by Cryptosporidium spp. and both were strongly associated with diarrhoea among HIV patients.

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