Transmission of Dientamoeba fragilis: pinworm or cysts?

Trends Parasitol. 2014 Mar;30(3):136-40. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Jan 31.


Recently, conflicting evidence has been published on the mode of transmission of the trichomonad Dientamoeba fragilis. Detection of D. fragilis DNA inside Enterobius vermicularis eggs agrees with the prediction of Dobell in 1940 that the eggs of a nematode act as a vector for transmission. However, the identification of a cyst stage of D. fragilis in the stool of rodents infected with a human isolate has also been reported, and this implies a life cycle similar to those of most other intestinal protistan parasites. Herein we discuss the recent data, identify gaps in the experimental evidence, and propose a method for determining which view of the life cycle of this organism is correct.

Keywords: Dientamoeba; Enterobius; cyst; life cycle; transmission; trichomonad.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dientamoeba / parasitology*
  • Dientamoebiasis / transmission*
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Enterobius / parasitology*
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Life Cycle Stages / physiology
  • Rodentia / parasitology