In this study we characterized the presence and subtype (ST1-ST4) of Blastocystis in patients attended at a referral center for tropical diseases in Northern Italy. We also, evaluated the organism’s association with other intestinal parasites. Parasite screening was performed on 756 patients, from different geographical origins (namely, Italians, Africans, South Americans, Asian and non-Italian Europeans) in which Italians represented the largest group. Blastocystis was seen to be the most prevalent parasite in the study. Subtype 3 and 1 were the most frequently found in the Italians and Africans. Our data confirmed previous studies performed in Italy, in which ST3 proved to be the most prevalent subtype, but we highlighted also a high frequency of mixed subtypes, which were probably underestimated in former analyses. Interestingly, the mixed subtypes group was the most prevalent in all the analysed geographical areas. About half of our cases showed other co-infecting parasites and the most frequent was Dientamoeba fragilis. Our study confirms that, in Blastocystis infection, multiple subtypes and co-infecting parasites are very frequently present, in particular Dientamoeba fragilis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)