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Blastocystis infection 

Blastocystis infection
Chapter:
Blastocystis infection
Author(s):

Richard Knight

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0168
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date: 07 March 2021

Blastocystis is an anaerobic unicellular non-invasive colonic parasite of animals and humans. It is transmitted faeco-orally, with human infection associated with travel, institutions, animal handlers, and immunodeficiency. Case reports strongly suggest that it causes a self-limited diarrhoeal illness. Diagnosis is by microscopic examination of faecal smears or concentrates. A trial of treatment with metronidazole is justified in patients who are immunocompromised, also when symptoms are prolonged. Molecular and ribosomal RNA studies now indicate that Blastocystis is a Stramenopile (a synonym for kingdom Chromista), currently only one species is recognized. Blastocystis has no flagellae, unlike other stramenopiles, which include slime nets, water moulds, and brown algae.

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