A 16-year-old female from Rantau Panjang, Kelantan reported having diarrhoea for three months. During this period, she lost 15 lb in weight and was treated with antibiotics and anti-spasmodic tablets with no improvement. Stool examinations by private laboratories revealed "worm-like eggs". She was treated for worms with mebendazole which helped to reduce the symptoms but not completely. The patient continued passing out the abnormal "worm-like eggs" which were later identified as pollen grains.
Intestinal protozoa are found in all communities in Malaysia and among all ethnic groups. Prevalence of intestinal protozoa is not affected by ethnicity but by living conditions. Communities with both basic amenities of safe water supply and proper toilets have lower prevalence than those with one or none of the amenity. Cryptosporidium is an important intestinal protozoon in Malaysia and should be included in future field and laboratory studies and also in laboratory diagnosis for pathogens. Much interest will be centered on Blastocystis hominis in future studies in view that it may be a cause of diarrhea.
Blastocystis hominis has long been described as a non pathogenic protozoan parasite until recently when claims have been made that it can result in pathogenic conditions. Of the 729 stool samples (614 from survey and 115 from pediatric wards) examined, 18.1% of them were found to be positive for one or more intestinal protozoan cyst. The commonest was Giardia intestinalis (8.4%) Followed by Entamoeba coli (7.1%) and Entamoeba histolytica (5.1%) in the normal children without symptoms of diarrhea. When diarrheic stools were examined, the commonest parasite encountered was Giardia (20.4%), followed by E. coli (15.9%) and E. histolytica (9.7%). Blastocystis was observed in 4.4% of the children who had diarrhea and 1.1% among the children taken from the normal population in the rural areas.
Blastocystis sp. is known to be the most commonly found intestinal protozoan parasite in human fecal surveys and has been incriminated to cause diarrhea and abdominal bloating. Binary fission has been widely accepted as the plausible mode of reproduction for this parasite. The present study demonstrates that subjecting the parasites in vitro to higher temperature shows the proliferation of parasite numbers in cultures. Transmission electron microscopy was used to compare the morphology of Blastocystis sp. subtype 3 isolated from a dengue patient having high fever (in vivo thermal stress) and Blastocystis sp. 3 maintained at 41 °C (in vitro thermal stress) and 37 °C (control). Fluorescence stains like acridine orange (AO) and 4',6'-diamino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) were used to demonstrate the viability and nuclear content of the parasite for both the in vitro and in vivo thermal stress groups of parasites. Blastocystis sp. at 37 °C was found to be mostly vacuolar whereas the in vitro thermal stressed isolates at 41 °C were granular with electron dense material seen to protect the granules within the central body. Parasites of the in vivo thermal stressed group showed similar ultrastructure as the in vitro ones. AO and DAPI staining provided evidence that these granules are viable which develop into progenies of Blastocystis sp. These granular forms were then observed to rupture and release progenies from the mother cells whilst the peripheral cytoplasmic walls were seen to degrade. Upon exposure to high temperature both in vitro and in vivo, Blastocystis sp. in cultures show higher number of granular forms seen to be protected by the electron dense material within the central body possibly acting as a protective mechanism. This is possibly to ensure the ability to survive for the granules to be developed as viable progenies for release into the host system.
Parasitic diarrhea among children is a significant health problem worldwide. This cross sectional study described the burden of parasitic diarrhea among children. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the impact of risk factors on the parasitic diarrhea, and to determine the parasitic profile among children in Baghdad-Iraq, during the period extending from September 2003 to June 2004. A total number of 2033 cases were included in the study. The estimated prevalence rate of parasitic diarrhea was 22%. We identified the following major diarrhea determinants were large households size, residential location, water source, low socioeconomic status, and low parent education. Giardia lamblia was found to be the most prevalent parasite with an infection rate of 45.54% followed by Entamoeba histolytica 23.44%, Enterobius vermicularis 12.7%, Hymenolepis nana 9.82%, Trichuris trichiura 5.4%, and Ascaris lumbricoides 2.2%. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that poor sanitation, inadequate environmental conditions, and low socioeconomic status are the main determining factors that predispose children to parasitic diarrhea. Mass deworming programs are recommended for school children, as this population is easily accessible.
The aim of this prospective study was to determine the prevalence of Cryptosporidium parvum in hospitalized children in Kota Bharu, Malaysia. Over a 19 month study period, 258 stool samples were examined from 159 children; 109 with diarrhea and 50 controls without diarrhea. Modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining method and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay were used to detect C. parvum and the samples were also examined for the presence of other intestinal parasites. Only 1 of the 109 (0.9%) children with acute diarrhea was positive for C. parvum by microscopy and PCR. Thirty-one percent of children were infested with other intestinal parasites, the most common being Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura. In conclusion, we found C. parvum to be an uncommon infective agent in hospitalized children with or without diarrhea in Kota Bharu, Malaysia.
Although intestinal parasitic infections (IPI) among children remain a global issue, the current information on such infections in Albanian children is very limited. A cross-sectional study of the IPI in 321 children living in the Albanian counties of Tirana (152) and Elbasan (169) was therefore conducted in 2008, with a pre-tested standard questionnaire employed to gather the relevant personal and clinical data. Using formalin-ether concentration and permanent stains, stool samples were examined microscopically for the ova, cysts and oocysts of any parasites. The overall prevalence of IPI was 19% (61 of 321), with protozoan infections (11·5%) apparently more common than infections with soil-transmitted helminths (STH; 8·1%). Giardia duodenalis was the parasite most frequently detected (10·9%), followed by hookworm (5·6%), Ascaris lumbricoides (1·9%), Trichuris trichiura (0·6%), Cryptosporidium (0·3%) and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (0·3%). The results of a univariate analysis indicated that the children from Tirana county were significantly more likely to be found infected with STH compared with the children from Elbasan county (12·5% v. 4·1%; P=0·006). Children sampled in the community were also more likely to be found STH-positive than the children sampled as they attended hospitals and health clinics (10·5% v. 6·0%) but this difference did not reach statistical significance. The children found STH-positive were five times more likely to be suffering from diarrhoea than the other children checked in clinical settings (P=0·004) and were also more likely to be suffering from abdominal pain (P=0·054) and/or diminished appetite (P=0·016).
This study was conducted to reassess the risk factors for giardiasis in communities of the Orang Asli (indigenous people) in Pahang, Malaysia. Stool samples were collected from 321 individuals (2-76 years old; 160 males, 161 females). Data were collected via laboratory analysis of faecal samples and a pre-tested standard questionnaire. River water samples were tested for Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. The overall prevalence of G. intestinalis infection was 23.7%. Children < or =12 years old had the highest infection rate and have been identified as a high risk group (odds ratio (OR)=6.2, 95% CI 1.5-27.0, P<0.005). The risk of getting giardiasis also appeared to be significantly associated with drinking piped water (OR=5.1, 95% CI 0.06-0.7, P<0.005) and eating raw vegetables (OR=2.4, 95% CI 0.2-0.6, P<0.005). In conclusion, sociodemographic factors have always been associated with the high prevalence of Giardia infections in Malaysia. However, the present study also highlights the need to look into the possibility of other risks such as water and food transmission routes. In future, it is necessary that these two aspects be considered in control strategies.
This cross-sectional study determined the prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in HIV-infected patients using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Stool specimens were collected from HIV infected patients who were admitted to Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Kota Bharu, Malaysia, for various indications from December 2004 to December 2005. A modified acid-fast stain was performed on the direct stool smears, then the stool specimens were further tested using nested PCR targeting the 18S rRNA gene of Cryptosporidium parvum, with a built-in internal control (IC). Out of 59 samples, 11 were positives. Nested PCR identified a total of nine samples (16%) compared to microscopy, which identified only three samples. All PCR negative results showed IC amplicons, suggesting that these samples were true negatives and were not due to inhibition of PCR. This study highlights the importance of molecular diagnosis in determining the true prevalence and epidemiology of C. parvum.
This article is a review of the latest information on the prevalence of G. lamblia in South Asia, South East Asia and Far East, characterizing the current endemic situation within these regions. Around 33 published papers from 2002-2007 were collected on G. lamblia. The included countries were Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Republic of Korea, and China. Only five published papers were discarded because data was extracted before 2002-2007 or they are not included within our regions, emphasizing more on G. lamblia in animals, or performed at extensive molecular level. The prevalence of G. lamblia varied markedly between studies illustrating higher levels in the urban than in the rural areas, more among poor communities, slightly higher in males than in females with age range of 2-5-year-old children, and among university students, old-aged people, HIV-positive patients, and gastric carcinoma patients. Though G. lamblia is not a life-threatening parasite, nevertheless, it is still considered as the most common water-borne diarrhea-causing disease. It is important to understand the etiology, frequency, and consequences of acute diarrhea in children. Routine surveillance such as bi-annual follow-up treatments, treating G. duodenalis cysts and other protozoa oocysts detected in ground water sources, and continuous health education are the most preventive measures.
Blastocystis sp., an intestinal organism is known to cause diarrhea with metronidazole regarded as the first line of treatment despite reports of its resistance. The conflicting reports of variation in drug treatment have been ascribed to subtype differences. The present study evaluated in vitro responses due to metronidazole on ST3 isolated from three symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, respectively. Symptomatic isolates were obtained from clinical patients who showed symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal bloating. Asymptomatic isolates from a stool survey carried out in a rural area. These patients had no other pathogens other than Blastocystis. Ultrastructural studies using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed drug-treated ST3 from symptomatic patients were irregular and amoebic with surface showing high-convoluted folding when treated with metronidazole. These organisms had higher number of mitochondrion-like organelle (MLO) with prominent cristae. However, the drug-treated ST3 from asymptomatic persons remained spherical in shape. Asymptomatic ST3 showed increase in the size of its central body with the MLO located at the periphery.
Strongyloides stercoralis infection can persist in the host for several decades, and patients with cancer and other clinical conditions who are exposed to immunosuppressive therapy are at risk of developing hyperinfection.
Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by the intestinal nematode Strongyloides stercoralis. Infected healthy individuals are usually asymptomatic, however it is potentially fatal in immunocompromised hosts due to its capacity to cause an overwhelming hyperinfection. Strongyloidiasis could be missed during routine screening because of low and intermittent larval output in stool and variable manifestations of the symptoms. We present two cases of strongyloidiasis occurring in children with solid organ malignancies suspected to have the infection based on their clinical conditions and treatment history for cancer. Both patients were diagnosed by molecular and serological tests and were successfully treated. Thus, strongyloidiasis in patients undergoing intensive treatment for malignancies should be suspected, properly investigated and treated accordingly.