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; PCryptosporidium 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.
Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
Beg, M. A.,
(2010). Prevalences of giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium parvum infection in adults presenting with chronic diarrhoea. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 104(6), 505-510.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_med_gastroenterol/45