Clinical and Epidemiological Characteristics of Patients with Dientamoeba fragilis Infection

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Nov;99(5):1170-1173. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0433.


Dientamoeba fragilis is an intestinal protozoan, usually considered nonpathogenic. However, in the last years, there has been an attempt to clarify its possible pathogenic role. We aim to evaluate the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of D. fragilis-infected patients. Adults with D. fragilis detection in feces who attended the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (Barcelona, Spain) were evaluated retrospectively from April 2009 to March 2014. We classified the patients in asymptomatic, symptomatic without other causes except infection of D. fragilis, and symptomatic with another cause. Among symptomatic patients, treatment response was evaluated. One hundred eight patients were included. Sixty-three percent of the patients were immigrants, 29.6% were autochthonous, and 7.4% were travelers. Forty-nine (45.3%) patients presented symptoms, and eosinophilia was observed in 26 (24.1%) patients. Overall, 59 (54.7%) patients were asymptomatic, 15 (13.8%) presented symptoms which were attributable to other causes, and 34 (31.5%) patients presented symptoms with no other causes. In this last group, 29 patients received specific treatment and 65.5% of them presented a complete resolution of the symptoms. The group of symptomatic patients with no other cause had more proportion of women, more proportion of autochthonous people, and were older compared with the group of asymptomatic patients. Dientamoeba fragilis infection should be considered as pathogenic when other causes are ruled out.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asymptomatic Infections / epidemiology
  • Dientamoeba / drug effects
  • Dientamoeba / isolation & purification
  • Dientamoeba / pathogenicity*
  • Dientamoebiasis / drug therapy
  • Dientamoebiasis / epidemiology*
  • Eosinophilia / parasitology
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Young Adult