Subtype analysis of Blastocystis isolates from symptomatic patients in Egypt
Blastocystis sp. has been described as the most common intestinal parasite in humans and has an increased impact in public health. To improve our understanding of the molecular epidemiology of this human-emerging parasite, we determined the Blastocystis subtypes (STs) and their relative frequency in Egyptian patients living in or in the vicinity of Cairo and presenting gastrointestinal symptoms. We obtained a total of 20 stool samples identified as positive for Blastocystis by microscopic examination of smears. Genotyping using partial small subunit ribosomal RNA gene analysis identified a total of 21 Blastocystis isolates corresponding to 19 single infections and one mixed infection (ST1 and ST3). Three STs were identified: ST3 was the most common ST in the present Egyptian population (61.90%) followed by ST1 (19.05%) and ST2 (19.05%). Together with previous studies carried out in different areas in Egypt, a total of five STs (ST1, ST2, ST3, ST4, and ST6) have been found in symptomatic patients. These data were compared to those available in the literature, and we underlined variations observed in the number and relative proportions of STs between and within countries. On the whole, it seemed that Blastocystis infection is likely not associated with specific STs even if some STs are predominant in the epidemiologic studies, but rather with a conjunction of factors in the course of infection including environmental risk and parasite and host factors.
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