Parasitological observations of chronic diarrhoea in suspected AIDS adult patients in Kinshasa (Zaire)

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1986;80(2):309-10. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(86)90043-x.


The parasitological profile of chronic diarrhoea in 46 Zairian adults suspected of Aids demonstrated that the frequency of protozoa was five times higher than that of helminths; 86% of the protozoa were sporozoa: Isospora belli was the most frequent (19%), followed by Cryptosporidium isolated for the first time in Zaire (8%) and Blastocystis hominis (2%). 37 of the 46 patients were immunodeficient.

PIP: Chronic diarrhea occurs in close to 90% of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases Zaire, but there has been no systematic analysis of the parasite species. In the present study, 46 adults with a history of episodic diarrhea (mean duration, 18 months) and clinical symptoms suggestive of AIDS underwent fecal diagnosis. In the 19 stool samples that were positive for parasites, protozoa were 5 times more common than helminths. 13 (86%) of the 15 protozoa-positive samples contained sporozoa. Of these, Isospora belli was the most common (19%), followed by Cryptosporidium (8%). Laboratory analysis and clinical symptoms revealed that 37 of these 46 chronic diarrhea patients were, in fact, immunosuppressed. Of the 9 immunocompetent patients, 5 had parasite- free stools. Significant was the finding that all 4 patients with cryptosporidiosis and 8 of the 9 patients with isosporosis were immunodeficient. Overall, these findings suggest that the parasitological profile of chronic diarrhea differs between immunosuppressed and immunocompetent African patients.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / parasitology*
  • Adult
  • Cryptosporidium / isolation & purification
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Diarrhea / parasitology*
  • Eukaryota / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Isospora / isolation & purification
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification