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Blastocystis infection frequency and subtype distribution in university students.


ABSTRACT: Blastocystis is a parasite commonly found in the gut of humans and animals; there are 22 known subtypes (STs). STs 1-9 and 12 have been found in humans. This parasite has a faecal-oral route of transmission; its high infection prevalence in developing countries is due to poor hygiene practices, exposure to infected animals, and intake of contaminated water or food. Its pathogenicity has not been established, because it has been found in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The goal of this study was to analyze the frequency of Blastocystis and its subtypes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7), and assess the relationship between these subtypes and abdominal pain and distension. 202 university students participated in this study. A questionnaire was applied to assess the gastrointestinal symptoms, and subsequently the students were asked to provide faecal samples. The presence of parasites was determined by optical microscopy. Blastocystis-positive samples had their DNA extracted and end-point PCR was performed to corroborate the presence of Blastocystis and determine its subtypes. Among the samples, 47.03% were positive according to PCR analysis. The most prevalent subtypes were ST3 (29.79%), ST4 (16.84%), and ST1 (14.89%). We found a relationship between ST1 and abdominal pain (OR = 0.196; CI = 0.0533-0.7318; p = 0.015), and between ST4 and abdominal distension (OR = 0.2928; CI = 0.1017-0.8429; p = 0.023). However, the presence of this parasite and the probable relationship with gastrointestinal symptoms suggest the need to determine its role within intestinal microbiota in order to confirm whether its eradication is really necessary or not.

SUBMITTER: Perez MR 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7770537 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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