Frequency of recovery of Blastocystis hominis in clinical practice

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1990 Oct;12(5):525-32. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199010000-00008.


We examined the frequency of isolation of Blastocystis hominis from stools of patients seen in an indigent-care teaching hospital. Over a 2-year period, 2,744 stool specimens were examined prospectively. B. hominis was found in 262 stools (9.5% of all stool specimens and 53.5% of the positive specimens). Clinical data were obtained from 80 patients with stools positive for B. hominis. B. hominis was the only parasite isolated in 39 of 47 (83%) of the adults, compared with 17 of 33 (52%) of the children (p = 0.006). All but 2 of 52 patients without concomitant parasitic infection or bacterial pathogens in stool had gastrointestinal symptoms (41 abdominal pain, 26 diarrhea, and 5 vomiting), but no association was seen with fever, peripheral leukocytosis, stool occult blood, fecal leukocytes, or endoscopic or radiologic evidence of colitis. Therefore, B. hominis was frequently recovered from stools examined in a hospital clinical parasitology laboratory. The clinical presentations of patients in our series did not suggest that B. hominis was invasive. Most patients with B. hominis probably do not require treatment since they will either have spontaneous resolution of symptoms or will be found to have an alternative explanation for their problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eukaryota / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies