Blastocystis hominis as a cause of hypoalbuminemia and anasarca

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2004 May;23(5):399-402. doi: 10.1007/s10096-004-1122-8. Epub 2004 Apr 27.


The protozoan Blastocystis hominis has been considered nonpathogenic, but this classification has come under scrutiny in light of reports in the medical literature indicating it could be the cause of intestinal disorders and, in one case, hypoalbuminemia. Reported here is a severe case of infection with B. hominis that caused acute gastroenteritis with prolonged diarrhea, hypoalbuminemia and anasarca. The diagnosis was based on the parasitological finding, since no other pathological evidence was found. The patient responded favorably to treatment with metronidazole for 10 days. This case supports the idea that B. hominis should be considered as a cause of opportunistic infection in debilitated patients despite the controversy surrounding its pathogenicity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blastocystis Infections / complications*
  • Blastocystis Infections / parasitology*
  • Blastocystis hominis / isolation & purification*
  • Edema / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoalbuminemia / etiology*
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Metronidazole