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Curr Med Mycol. 2017 Mar;3(1):30-36. doi: 10.18869/acadpub.cmm.3.1.30.

Intestinal microsporidiosis in Iran: infection in immune-compromised and immunocompetent patients.

Author information

Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.
Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.
Leishmaniasis Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.
Research Center for Hydatid Disease in Iran, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.
Department of Parasitology and Entomology, School of Medicine, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Regional Knowledge Hub and WHO Collaborating Centre for HIV Surveillance, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.


Background and Purpose:

Gastroenteritis and the clinical profile caused by Microsporidia, an opportunistic pathogen, may be severe in immunocompromised individuals, especially in AIDS patients. Conventionally, it is necessary to detect the small infective spores in stained smears. However, due to the limitations of the microscopy-based methods, several DNA-based methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have recently been developed to enhance diagnosis sensitivity. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the rate of infection in immunocompromised patients as compared with immunocompetent patients in Kerman, Iran.

Materials and Methods:

We collected stool samples of 199 human subjects (116 males and 83 females), aged 1 to 69 years old. They were divided into immunocompromised (i.e., AIDS [n=72] and cancer-positive patients [n=59]) and immunocompetent (n=68) groups. We comparatively examined the fecal materials using the microscopy and PCR methods.


The overall prevalence rate of Microsporidia infection was 10.05% (20/199). Entrocytozoon bieneusi was the only species within the Microsporidia genus that was identified in 14.5% (19/131) of the immunocompromised patients and 1.47% (1/68) of the immunocompetent individuals.


Considering the higher prevalence rate of microsporidiosis in patients with immunodeficiency (10.03%), we suggest performing sensitive and specific techniques such as PCR for the detection of these parasites in immunocompromised patients.


Immunocompetent individuals; Immunocompromised patients; Iran; Microsporidia

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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