High seroprevalence of Encephalitozoon species in immunocompetent subjects

J Infect Dis. 1997 Apr;175(4):1020-4. doi: 10.1086/513963.


Encephalitozoon species are important pathogens in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. However, in immunocompetent persons, little is known about Encephalitozoon infections, mainly because of the lack of reliable diagnostic tests. To improve diagnosis, three serologic techniques that use Encephalitozoon intestinalis as antigen were developed: an ELISA, an immunofluorescence technique (IFAT), and a counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE) method. The serologic response against E. intestinalis was studied in sera from 300 Dutch blood donors and 276 pregnant French women. For confirmation of specificity, sera from 150 subjects with various infectious and noninfectious diseases were examined. ELISA, IFAT, and CIE were specific for microsporidia infections, and IFAT and CIE were specific for Encephalitozoon infections. High antibody titers against Encephalitozoon organisms were found in 24 (8%) of 300 Dutch blood donors and in 13 (5%) of 276 pregnant French women. The high seroprevalence against Encephalitozoon species in Dutch blood donors and French women suggests that Encephalitozoon infection is common in immunocompetent subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Blood Donors
  • Child
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsporidia / immunology*
  • Microsporidiosis / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence


  • Antibodies, Protozoan