Blastocystis hominis transmission by non-potable water: a case report in Italy

Maria Cristina Angelici, Chiara Nardis, Riccardo Scarpelli, Paola Ade

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In the reported case, a 41-year-old Italian man came to the clinician's observation reporting cramps, bloating and watery diarrhoea a few days after drinking water indicated as unpotable from a fountain in a farm area. The medical suspicion was directed at both gluten intolerance and enteric infection, eventually of waterborne origin. Gluten intolerance was investigated by intestinal biopsy and excluded, while stool analyses ruled out infective bacteriological or viral agents and parasites. Subsequently, a persistent eosinophilia was revealed and a parasitological analysis was again suggested, planning for a more sensitive molecular method. Therefore, a multiplex-PCR of enteric protozoa species DNA was performed on an intestinal biopsy and faecal samples revealing only Blastocystis hominis protozoa, subsequently typed as subtype 1 by RFLP-PCR method. B. hominis is an anaerobic protozoa found in the human and animal intestinal tract, recently associated with a pathogenic role characterized by chronic development. Since blastocystosis has been demonstrated as a waterborne infection, a sample of water matrix was analysed, revealing the B. hominis subtype 1 DNA inside. A probable water transmission of Blastocystis infection has been demonstrated in this case report. Only a probiotic treatment based on Saccharomyces boulardii was administered to the patient and this apparently resolved the infection. In summary, the case described here is a chronic blastocystosis of possible waterborne origin, controlled by assuming a yeast treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalThe new microbiologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Adult
  • Blastocystis Infections/parasitology
  • Blastocystis hominis/isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Probiotics/therapeutic use
  • Water/parasitology


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