Frequency of Blastocystis hominis and other intestinal parasites in stool samples examined at the Parasitology Laboratory of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the São Paulo State University, Araraquara

Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2008 Nov-Dec;41(6):565-9. doi: 10.1590/s0037-86822008000600004.


Blastocystis homins is a protozoan that causes an intestinal infection known as human blastocystosis. This infection is diagnosed by means of parasitological examination of stools and by permanent staining techniques. The present study was developed to evaluate the frequency of Blastocystis hominis infection among inhabitants of the Araraquara region, State of São Paulo, and to compare different methods for investigating this protozoan in feces samples. Evaluations on 503 stool samples were performed by means of direct fresh examination and using the techniques of Faust et al., Lutz and Rugai et al. In addition, the iron hematoxylin, trichrome and modified Kinyoun staining techniques were used. Out of the 503 samples examined, 174 (34.6%) were found to be positive for the presence of intestinal parasites. The most frequent protozoa and helminths were Entamoeba coli (14.6%) and Strongyloides stercoralis (6.7%), respectively. Blastocystis hominis was present in 23 (4.6%) fecal samples, with a predominately pasty consistency and without characterizing a condition of diarrhea. Despite the low frequency of Blastocystis hominis found in the Araraquara region, compared with other regions of Brazil, it is important to perform laboratory diagnostic tests for this protozoan. Its finding in fecal material is indicative of food and drinking water contamination. Since the transmission route for this parasite is accepted to be oral-fecal, this implies that the population needs guidance regarding hygiene and basic sanitation measures as a means for controlling health problems caused by enteroparasites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Blastocystis Infections / diagnosis
  • Blastocystis Infections / epidemiology*
  • Blastocystis hominis / isolation & purification*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult