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Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2009;2009:926521. doi: 10.1155/2009/926521. Epub 2009 Aug 2.

Molecular diagnostic tests for microsporidia.

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Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


The Microsporidia are a ubiquitous group of eukaryotic obligate intracellular parasites which were recognized over 100 years ago with the description of Nosema bombycis, a parasite of silkworms. It is now appreciated that these organisms are related to the Fungi. Microsporidia infect all major animal groups most often as gastrointestinal pathogens; however they have been reported from every tissue and organ, and their spores are common in environmental sources such as ditch water. Several different genera of these organisms infect humans, but the majority of infections are due to either Enterocytozoon bieneusi or Encephalitozoon species. These pathogens can be difficult to diagnose, but significant progress has been made in the last decade in the development of molecular diagnostic reagents for these organisms. This report reviews the molecular diagnostic tests that have been described for the identification of the microsporidia that infect humans.

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