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Intestinal Microsporidia Infection in Leukemic Children: Microscopic and Molecular Detection

Abstract

Background

Microsporidia infection was originally described as an immunocompromised associated pathogen. Limitations to correct microscopic diagnosis of microsporidia include size of the organism presenting a challenge even to a highly competent laboratory expert.

Objective

The present study aimed to detect microsporidia infection among leukemic children. The performance of modified trichrome stain and PCR in the diagnosis of microsporidia was evaluated with further speciation.

Methods

Stool samples of 100 leukemic children on chemotherapy were examined microscopically for microsporidia. DNA was extracted from all samples. Amplification was performed by conventional and nested PCR. Sequencing of amplified products was performed on unspeciated samples.

Results

Microsporidia were detected in 23% of the children by MTS and 29% by PCR. The 29 positive samples were subjected to PCR for speciation. Enterocytozoon bieneusi was found to predominate in 20 cases, Encephalitozoon intestinalis in three cases, two cases had co-infection, and the remaining four samples were not amplified with either E. bieneusi or E. intestinalis specific primers. By DNA sequencing of the unspeciated samples, three samples shared high homology with Encephalitozoon hellem and one sample with Encephalitozoon cuniculi. Referring to PCR as a gold standard, MTS exhibited 72.4% sensitivity and 97.2% specificity with 90% accuracy. Among a number of studied variables, diarrhea and colic were significantly associated with microsporidia infection when diagnosed by either technique.

Conclusion

The use of sensitive and discriminative molecular tools will contribute to determining the true prevalence of microsporidiosis and possibly their potential transmission source depending on species identification.

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Correspondence to Amel Youssef Shehab.

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Shehab, A.Y., Moneer, E.A., Allam, A.F. et al. Intestinal Microsporidia Infection in Leukemic Children: Microscopic and Molecular Detection. Acta Parasit. 66, 346–353 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11686-020-00283-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11686-020-00283-2

Keywords

  • Opportunistic infectious diseases
  • Enterocytozoon bieneusi
  • Encephalitozoon intestinalis
  • Diagnosis
  • MTS
  • PCR