Title

Prevalences of giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium parvum infection in adults presenting with chronic diarrhoea

Document Type

Article

Department

Medicine; Gastroenterology

Abstract

iardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum are both waterborne pathogens associated with diarrhoea in developing countries. In a recent study based at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, 334 adults aged 16–83 years (178 patients with chronic diarrhoea and 156 diarrhoea-free volunteers who acted as controls) were checked for infection with these parasites, using stool microscopy and/or PCR. Overall, 21 (6.3%) and 29 (8.7%) of the subjects were found positive for G. lamblia by microscopy and PCR, respectively, while the corresponding values for C. parvum were 13 (3.9%) and 14 (4.2%). Although, compared with the diarrhoea-free controls, the patients with diarrhoea were not significantly more likely to be found infected with Giardia, either by microscopy [15 (8.4%) v. six (3.8%); P=0.085] or PCR [19 (10.7%) v. 10 (6.4%); P=0.167], they were significantly more likely to be found infected with C. parvum, both by microscopy [11 (6.2%) v. two (1.3%); P=0.024] and by PCR [12 (6.7%) v. two (1.3%); P=0.014].

The 19 patients found PCR-positive for Giardia comprised 10 (67%) of the 15 found smear-positive for the same parasite but only nine (5%) of the 163 found smear-negative (k=0.545; P<0.001). Similarly, the 12 patients found PCR-positive for Cryptosporidium comprised all 11 (100%) patients found smear-positive for the same parasite but only one (0.6%) of the 167 found smear-negative (k=0.954; P<0.001).

Although C. parvum was associated with chronic diarrhoea in the present study, the carriage of G. lamblia often appeared asymptomatic.

Publication

Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology