Blastocystis hominis is a common intestinal parasite found in humans living in poor sanitary conditions, living in tropical and subtropical climates, exposed to infected animals, or consuming contaminated food or water. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of B. hominis in Polish military personnel returning from peacekeeping missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, 1,826 stool samples were examined. Gastrointestinal parasites were detected in 17% of the soldiers. The examined stool samples most frequently contained vacuolar forms of B. hominis (15.3%) and cysts of Entamoeba coli (1.0%) or Giardia lamblia (0.7%). In 97.1% of stool samples from infected soldiers, we observed less than five developmental forms of B. hominis in the field of view (40×). The parasite infections in soldiers were diagnosed in the autumn and the spring. There was no statistical correlation between age and B. hominis infection. Our results show that peacekeeping missions in countries with tropical or subtropical climates could be associated with risk for parasitic diseases, including blastocystosis.
© The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.