, Volume 11, Issue 9, pp 735-746

The neglected ameba: Dientamoeba fragilis

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1. Of 14,000 patients studied over a period of 6 years, 2.4% were infected withD. fragilis. The majority were U. S. citizens who had not traveled out of the country.

2. The 100 cases of “pure” infection withD. fragilis are summarized.

3. Diagnosis was made by direct examination of recently passed loose stools combined with culture.

4. The most frequent presenting symptoms were abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatus, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

5. Physical signs, proctoscopic examination, and radiologic study usually were negative.

6. Treatment eliminated the parasite although evaluation of symptomatic relief was often difficult.

7.D. fragilis is considered by many to be nonpathogenic and is often ignored. Such appears unjustified in view of cases reported in the literature and cases reviewed. Specific therapy seems warranted.