Giardiasis in HIV: A possible role in patients with severe immune deficiency
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We report the epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic characteristics of giardiasis in a population of HIV-infected patients with diarrhoic syndrome. During the period between 1988 and 1995, 720 HIV-patients with diarrhoic syndrome were evaluated. Fecal specimens were submitted to parasitological examination according to the Ritchie formalin-ethil acetate centrifugal sedimentation method and stained with iodine. Samples also underwent modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining and standard bacteriologic testing. Cystis of G. intestinalis were identified in stool sample of 25 patients. Two patients were classified as in stage A2 and 23 in C3. Mean CD4 values of patients with giardiasis (26.9 cells/mmc) were compared with those of 65 patients from whom, during the study, was isolated Cryptosporidium parvum (63.12, cells/mmc): the difference resulted highly significant (p < 0.001). Among the patients with full-blown AIDS, giardiasis occurred following a single previous AIDS-defining event in 13 inividuals, in seven and in five subjects giardiasis was the 3rd and, respectively, the 4th relevant AIDS-defining condition. Death occurred within the following 2 months in nine patients and within 6, 12 and 24 months in seven, six and two patients, respectively; at present only three AIDS patients are still alive. In general, G. intestinalis in HIV+, is not considered a major cause of enteritis; nevertheless, in our experience enteritis due to G. intestinalis is a frequent event among AIDS patiens, especially in the most advanced stage of disease, irrespectively of the risk factor. The increase in mean survival of AIDS patients will probably lead to a progressive emergence of this pathogen which could determine a severe diarroic syndrome with hydroelectrolytic impairments.
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