Dientamoeba fragilis

Dientamoeba fragilis is a single-celled parasite that inhabits the human gastrointestinal tract. It's associated with dientamoebiasis, a condition that can cause a range of digestive symptoms. The parasite's mode of transmission and pathogenic potential are subjects of ongoing research....

Dientamoeba fragilis

What is Dientamoeba fragilis?

Dientamoeba fragilis is a protozoan parasite that, despite its name, is more closely related to flagellates than amoebas. It is often detected in individuals with gastrointestinal complaints, but its role as a causative agent of disease is still debated. It lacks a cyst stage, which is unusual for intestinal parasites, making its mode of transmission somewhat unclear.

What are the symptoms of Dientamoeba fragilis?

  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating and gas
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss (in chronic cases)
  • Anal itching

How is Dientamoeba fragilis transmitted?

The exact transmission route of Dientamoeba fragilis is not well understood. It has been hypothesized that it might be transmitted via the fecal-oral route, potentially through contaminated food or water. Another theory suggests that it could be transmitted through parasitic worm eggs, such as those of pinworms. Because Dientamoeba fragilis lacks a protective cyst stage, it’s thought to be less resilient in the environment compared to other parasites.

How to prevent Dientamoeba fragilis?

  • Practice good hand hygiene, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • Ensure safe and sanitary food and water consumption, particularly in areas where the parasite might be prevalent.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect bathroom facilities and kitchen areas.
  • Consider regular deworming in areas where intestinal worms are common, as a precaution if the worm egg theory of transmission is valid.

Test(s) that measure/test for Dientamoeba fragilis

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