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Louis M. Weiss

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date: 25 February 2021

Microsporidia are obligate intracellular eukaryotic pathogens related to the Fungi that can infect both vertebrates and invertebrates. They were first identified about 150 years ago as the cause of pebrine, a disease of silkworms, with the description of Nosema bombycis in these economically important insects. They were first described in mammalian tissue samples about 75 years ago and starting 30 years ago they were recognized as pathogenic organisms responsible for a diarrhoeal syndrome in patients with AIDS. In addition to the gastrointestinal tract, it is now appreciated that microsporidia can infect virtually any organ system. The phylum Microsporidia contains about 1,400 species, distributed in 200 genera, and 15 microsporidian species have been reported in human infections.

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