Dientamoeba fragilis diagnosis by fecal screening: relative effectiveness of traditional techniques and molecular methods
Introduction: Dientamoeba fragilis, an intestinal trichomonad, occurs in humans with and without gastrointestinal symptoms. Its presence was investigated in individuals referred to Milad Hospital, Tehran.
Methodology: In a cross-sectional study, three time-separated fecal samples were collected from 200 participants from March through June 2011. Specimens were examined using traditional techniques for detecting D. fragilis and other gastrointestinal parasites: direct smear, culture, formalin-ether concentration, and iron-hematoxylin staining. The presence of D. fragilis was determined using PCR assays targeting 5.8S rRNA or small subunit ribosomal RNA.
Results: Dientamoeba fragilis, Blastocystis sp., Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba coli, and Iodamoeba butschlii were detected by one or more traditional and molecular methods, with an overall prevalence of 56.5%. Dientamoeba was not detected by direct smear or formalin-ether concentration but was identified in 1% and 5% of cases by culture and iron-hematoxylin staining, respectively. PCR amplification of SSU rRNA and 5.8S rRNA genes diagnosed D. fragilis in 6% and 13.5%, respectively. Prevalence of D. fragilis was unrelated to participant gender, age, or gastrointestinal symptoms.
Conclusions: This is the first report of molecular assays to screen for D. fragilis in Iran. The frequent finding of D. fragilis via fecal analysis indicated the need to include this parasite in routine stool examination in diagnostic laboratories. As the length of amplification target correlates to the sensitivity of PCR, this assay targeting the D. fragilis 5.8S rRNA gene seems optimal for parasite detection and is recommended in combination with conventional microscopy for diagnosing intestinal parasites.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).