Epidemiology and clinical features associated with Blastocystis hominis infection

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1987 Dec;8(4):235-44. doi: 10.1016/0732-8893(87)90055-1.


A retrospective chart review was performed on 100 patients infected with Blastocystis hominis (Bh) and 50 randomly selected age and sex matched controls to examine the clinical and epidemiologic features associated with this organism. The finding of greater than 5 Bh per oil immersion field (1,000 X) was significantly associated with acute presentation of symptoms but was not predictive of the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms. Of patients infected with Bh, 57.5% had recently travelled to the tropics or had consumed untreated water as compared to 12.2% of controls (p less than 0.001). Forty Bh-positive patients were assessed on more than one occasion. No significant differences appeared to exist in the clinical responses of those treated with Metronidazole (14/18; 77.8%) or with dietary management (6/6; 100%) as compared with those not receiving treatment (13/16:81.2%). Patients tended to become less symptomatic with time and in the absence of specific treatment, and therefore treatment with Metronidazole may not be warranted in light of the natural history of Bh infection.

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Humans
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Protozoan Infections / drug therapy
  • Protozoan Infections / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Metronidazole