The importance of considering the neglected intestinal protozoan parasite Dientamoeba fragilis

Jari Intra, Cecilia Sarto, Silvia Besana, Natalia Tiberti, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dientamoebiasis is globally distributed and detected in a large number of subjects with diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, flatulence, fatigue and loss of appetite. The life cycle and transmission of Dientamoeba fragilis are poorly understood. Microscopic examination of permanent stained smears is traditionally employed to diagnose the infection. However, this approach is timeconsuming and the success in detecting D. fragilis depends on the microscopist’s experience. Hence, only a few laboratories routinely carry out tests for D. fragilis. Consequently, the prevalence of D. fragilis infection is probably underestimated. Although novel, rapid and more sensitive diagnostic tests are becoming available for detecting intestinal parasites, they also possess some limitations. The aim of this study was to emphasize the importance of performing microscopic examination of permanent stained smears from at least one fresh stool specimen after sample arrival at the laboratory, as a mandatory practice for the diagnosis of dientamoebiasis, particulary where it is not possible to perform molecular assays.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000983
Pages (from-to)890-892
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Dientamoebiasis
  • Intestinal parasite
  • Ova and parasite examination
  • Protozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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