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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-40

Coccidian intestinal parasites among immunocompetent children presenting with diarrhea: Are we missing them?

Division of Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Sarman Singh
Division of Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5070.202291

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Background: Diarrhoea is an important cause of both morbidity and mortality among children in India. Coccidian parasitic infections are an important cause of diarrhea in immunocompromised patients, but their investigations are rarely sought by the treating physicians in seemingly immunocompetent children. This study was aimed to find the incidence rate of coccidian parasites in all children presented with diarrhoea, irrespective of their immune status. Materials and Methods: Between December 2015 and May 2016, all fecal samples from children aged between 0 and 15 years presenting with diarrhoea, irrespective of their immune status, were examined using conventional wet mount and modified acid-fast staining. At the end of the study, records of their clinical history and immune status including HIV positivity were evaluated. Findings of wet-mount and modified acid-fast stained smear microscopy were analyzed in relation with clinical details. Results: During the study, samples from 200 children (single sample) with diarrhea were processed. Their mean age was 5.7 ± 3.3 years (range 4–168 months). Seventeen out of 200 (8.5%) samples were positive for acid-fast coccidian parasites. Eight (4%) samples were found to be positive for Cryptosporidium hominis, while 5 (2.5%) were positive for Cyclospora cayetonensis and 4 (2%) samples for Isospora belli oocysts. Half (50%) of the children who were tested positive for Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora were found to be otherwise immunocompetent. However, all four cases of Isosporiasis were immunocompromised patients. Conclusion: We highlight the high incidence of coccidian parasites among immunocompetent children with diarrhea. The clinicians need to be aware that coccidian parasites are a potential cause of childhood diarrhea even in immunocompetent children.

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