Detection and transmission of Dientamoeba fragilis from environmental and household samples

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Journal Article
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2012, 86 (2), pp. 233 - 236
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Dientamoeba fragilis is a commonly occurring pathogenic protozoan often detected at higher rates in stool samples than Giardia intestinalis. However, little is known about its life cycle and mode of transmission. A total of 210 environmental and household samples were examined for the presence of D. fragilis by culture and polymerase chain reaction. Of 100 environmental samples, D. fragilis was detected only in untreated sewage. In the household samples D. fragilis was detected in 30% of household contacts tested and was not detected in any domestic pets. This study provides evidence that environmental transmission of D. fragilis is unlikely and that pets played no role in transmission of the disease in this study. Direct transmission from infected persons is the most likely mode of transmission for D. fragilis. The study also highlights the need for household contacts to be screened, given the propensity of close contacts to become infected with the organism. Copyright © 2012 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
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