Description of Parasites

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Intestinal Protozoa (microscopic parasites) Multiplex PCR:

Giardiasis (Lamblia Infection), caused by Giardia lamblia (Giardia intestinalis), is a cosmopolitan infection. Giardia lamblia is a common intestinal parasite that causes giardiasis. Its symptoms include:

  • Acute form: Watery diarrhea with a foul-smelling odor devoid of mucus and blood, variable intensity epigastric pain (rare in the right hypochondrium), abdominal distension, eructation with sulfuric odor, and flatulence. Fatigue, anorexia, nausea sensation, vomiting, and lactose intolerance may also occur.
  • Chronic form: Digestive disorders such as gastric pain, semisolid steatorrhea stools, abdominal distension, flatulence, and intestinal malabsorption.

Manifestations also include:

  • Neurological disorders: Headache, agitation, emotional instability, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, attention disorders, drowsiness or insomnia, decreased intellectual capacity, and enuresis.
  • Allergic manifestations: Urticaria, itching, eczema, and pruritus.
  • Other manifestations: Asthma, bronchitis, rhinopharyngitis, and iridocyclitis.

Infection usually occurs through ingestion of contaminated water or food, making proper water sanitation and hygiene essential for prevention.


Amoebiasis, caused by the microscopic parasite Entamoeba histolytica, is a cosmopolitan infection predominantly occurring in warm regions. Entamoeba histolytica is responsible for amoebiasis, a gastrointestinal infection that can range from asymptomatic colonization to severe dysentery with bloody diarrhoea.

Manifestations also include:

  • Intestinal form: abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, tenesmus, pain in the area of the cecum or the transverse or sigmoid colon, dehydration, weight loss, fatigue;
  • Extraintestinal forms: Amoebic hepatitis: hepatomegaly, pain in the right upper quadrant, fever, amoebic colitis, leukocytosis;
  • Liver abscess: fever, sweating, weight loss, pain in the right upper quadrant, hepatomegaly, nausea, vomiting.

Transmission occurs through ingestion of food or water contaminated with cysts shed in the faces of infected individuals, highlighting the importance of proper sanitation measures.


Cryptosporidium spp., including Cryptosporidium parvum, causes cryptosporidiosis, a cosmopolitan infection.

  • In immunocompetent individuals, symptoms include those of non-inflammatory acute gastroenteritis: watery, explosive, greenish-brown diarrhea with mucus, without blood or pus, lasting for 7 days, accompanied by abdominal cramps, vomiting, anorexia, and moderate fever.
  • In immunocompromised individuals, symptoms include profuse, intermittent, or continuous chronic diarrhea, malabsorption, weight loss, vomiting, abdominal pain, intermittent headache, moderate fever, lymphadenopathy, and anorexia.

Cryptosporidiosis can also affect the respiratory and biliary tract.

Transmission typically occurs through ingestion of contaminated water or recreational water sources, emphasizing the importance of water treatment and recreational water hygiene to prevent transmission.


Blastocystis hominis: Blastocystis hominis is a single-celled parasite, found in the human gastrointestinal tract. Blastocystosis is a cosmopolitan infection.

Manifestations also include:

  • Digestive and general manifestations: abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, anorexia, food intolerance, flatulence, depression, headache.
  • Allergic manifestations: eyelid swelling, blepharoconjunctivitis, macular oedema.

In immunocompromised individuals: chronic diarrhoea, fever, eosinophilia.

Transmission routes and the clinical significance of Blastocystis infection remain subjects of debate among researchers.


Dientamoeba fragilis: Dientamoeba fragilis is a single-celled parasite that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Infection with Dientamoeba fragilis have worldwide distribution.

Manifestations include mostly digestive disorders: Diarrhoea with mucous or mucous-blood stools (lasting 7-8 days), alternating diarrhoea with constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, drowsiness, and sometimes anal itching; nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

Transmission occurs through the ingestion of cysts found in contaminated food, water, or faecal matter, highlighting the importance of personal hygiene and food safety practices.


Cyclospora cayetanensis: Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite responsible for cyclosporiasis. Cyclospora cayetanensis infection is globally distributed.

Digestive disorders and general symptoms: sudden onset with flu-like symptoms (fever, body aches, fatigue), followed by watery, explosive, bloodless diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, digestive disturbances (bloating, significant bowel sounds).

In immunocompromised individuals, the clinical picture may also include inflammation of the bile ducts.

Transmission usually occurs through consumption of contaminated food or water, particularly fresh produce, emphasising the importance of proper food handling and hygiene practices in preventing infection.


Intestinal Helminths (worms) Multiplex PCR 

Ancylostoma spp.: including Ancylostoma duodenale and Ancylostoma brasiliense, are hookworms that infect humans (Infective-filariform larvae are 0,7—1,0 mm long). Ancylostoma cutaneous larva migrans (Ancylostoma duodenale, Ancylostoma caninum) infection it is globally distributed, predominantly in warm regions.

Cutaneous and generalized manifestations: Linear, itchy dermatitis on exposed areas. Skin redness, itching, palpable nodules under the skin surface, growing up to pea-sized with inflammatory swellings, advancing at approximately 3 cm/day. Insomnia. Causing symptoms such as anaemia, abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Infection occurs through skin penetration by larvae present in contaminated soil, particularly in warm and humid climates.


Ascaris spp.: commonly known as roundworms, are intestinal parasites that infect humans (Ascaris lumbricoides) and household animal (Ascaris suum), measure 20 to 35 cm adult females; and 15 to 30 cm. adult males. Ascariasis as Ascaris lumbricoides, Ascaris suum infection is globally distributed.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Pulmonary form: Dry cough, sometimes with dyspnoea, pain localized behind the sternum, moderate fever, rarely coughing up small amounts of blood, itchy rash, hepatomegaly.
  • Paraclinical: Labile opacities in the lungs on imaging studies, eosinophilia.
  • Intestinal form, digestive disorders: Decreased or increased appetite, hypersalivation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, alternating diarrhea or constipation, occasional fever.
  • Neurological disorders: Headaches, irritability, sleep disturbances, decreased mental and physical performance, epileptic and hysterical seizures, meningeal symptoms, teeth grinding.
  • Complications: Intestinal obstruction, mechanical asphyxia, mechanical jaundice, pancreatitis, appendicitis, eye inflammation, facial edema, itching, asthmatic attacks.

Transmission occurs through ingestion of Ascaris eggs found in contaminated food (vegetables and fruit), water, or soil, emphasizing the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene.


Enterobius vermicularis: Enterobius vermicularis, or pinworm, is a parasitic worm that commonly infects the intestines of humans. At full maturity adult females measure 8 to 13 mm, and adult males 2 to 5 mm; the adult life span is about two months. Enterobiasis – Enterobius vermicularis infection is globally distributed.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Allergic manifestations: Itching of the anus, vulva, vagina.
  • Neurological disorders: Insomnia, irritability, nervousness, concentration and memory disturbances, headaches, dizziness, teeth grinding.
  • Digestive disorders: Abdominal pain, often in the area of the appendix, nausea, loss of appetite, occasional diarrhea with mucus.
  • Complications: Vulvovaginitis with itching, uncontrollable loss of urine, dermatitis, exostoses, appendicitis, peritonitis, abscesses, neurasthenia.

Transmission occurs through ingestion of pinworm eggs from humans, which can be transferred from contaminated surfaces to the mouth, highlighting the importance of hygiene practices.


Hymenolepis spp.: Hymenolepis spp., including Hymenolepis nana and Hymenolepis diminuta are tapeworms that infect humans. Maturation of the parasites occurs within 20 days and the adult worms can reach an average of 30 cm in length. Hymenolepis nana infection is a globally distributed.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • General manifestations: Weight loss, pallor.
  • Digestive disorders: Anorexia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
  • Neurological disorders: Headaches, neurasthenia, migraines, dizziness, hysterical seizures, epileptic seizures, inattention, confusion, disorientation.
  • Paraclinical: Eosinophilia, hypochromic anemia.

Infection occurs through ingestion of contaminated food or water containing tapeworm eggs.



Microsporidiosis – Enterocytozoon spp./Encephalitozoon spp.: are microsporidian parasites, these infections are globally distributed. Microsporidia are characterized by the production of resistant spores that vary in size (usually 0,001 – 0,004 mm for medically-important species).

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Microsporidian infections range from asymptomatic to symptomatic infections presenting with diarrhoea, inflammation of muscle parts, inflammation of the cornea of the eye, and bronchitis. Although rare, encephalitis can also occur.
  • In immunosuppressed individuals, microsporidian infection is increasingly recognized as a significant cause of morbidity and is responsible for significant gastrointestinal (GI) and disseminated diseases. It can lead to lung infections, gallbladder infections resulting in cholecystitis and cholangitis, as well as eye infections.

Transmission occurs through ingestion of spores shed by infected individuals or animals found in contaminated food and water.


Necator americanus: Necator americanus, or the New World hookworm, is a parasitic worm (Infective-filariform larvae are 0,005—0,007 mm long) that infects humans, Necatoriasis – Necator americanus infection is prevalent in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. Most adult worms are eliminated in 1 to 2 years, but the longevity may reach several years.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Skin manifestations: Dermatitis and migratory skin rashes.
  • Pulmonary manifestations: Cough, hoarseness, bronchial asthma attacks, bronchitis, tracheobronchitis, bronchopneumonia, and lung infiltrates (consolidations of lung tissue) of the Löffler type.
  • Digestive manifestations: Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite (sometimes bulimia), disturbances in bowel function, malabsorption syndrome.
  • Neurological and psychological symptoms: Drowsiness, fatigue, amnesia, abnormal skin sensations, reflex impairment.

Paraclinical: Eosinophilia, microcytic hypochromic anemia. Infection occurs through skin penetration by larvae present in contaminated soil, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions.


Strongyloides spp.: Strongyloides spp. are parasitic roundworms that can infect humans. Strongyloidiasis – Strongyloides stercoralis, Strongyloides spp., is globally distributed infection. Parasitic males do not exist; parasitic females are long, slender and measure 2.0—3.0 mm in length.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Early phase: Itchy rash on the buttocks, around the waist, sometimes with linear, serpentine, reddish streaks, fever, intense itching, local swelling, cough, shortness of breath, coughing up small amounts of blood, bronchospasm.
  • Intestinal phase: with digestive disorders: Fever, lower abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, malabsorption, jaundice. Symptoms suggestive of inflammation of the duodenum, duodenal ulcers, and ulcerative colitis. With Neurological disorders: General weakness, sudden weakness, irritability, susceptibility, headaches, dizziness.

Paraclinical: Eosinophilia. Infection occurs through skin penetration by larvae present in contaminated soil, particularly in warm and moist environments.


Taenia spp.: Taenia spp., including Taenia solium and Taenia saginata, are tapeworms that infect humans through ingestion ingesting raw or undercooked infected meat containing cysticerci or cysts. Taeniasis caused from Taenia saginata or Taenia solium infection is globally distributed. They are flat, opaque white or yellowish, and exceptional long segmented parasites, measuring 1 to 12 m in their adult stage.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Digestive disorders: Abdominal pain, nausea, capricious appetite (decreased or increased), alternating constipation with diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort.
  • Neurological disorders: Weakness, insomnia, irritability.

Paraclinical: Disturbance of bowel filling on X-ray, eosinophilia, hyper-IgE.


Trichuris trichiura: Trichuris trichiura, or whipworm, is a parasitic roundworm that infects the human large intestine. Trichuriasis – Trichuris trichiura infection is globally distributed. The adult worms (approximately 4 cm in length) live in the cecum and ascending colon.

Infections forms and disorders:

  • Digestive disorders: Nausea, vomiting, increased salivation, pain in the upper abdomen and right groin, alternating constipation or diarrhoea, fever, bloating.
  • In severe cases: Diarrhoea, sometimes watery, with blood or mucus, abdominal pain, anaemia, eosinophilia.
  • Neurological disorders: Headaches, sometimes severe, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, transient loss of consciousness, epileptic seizures, convulsions, uncontrollable loss of urine.

Infection occurs through ingestion of Trichuris eggs found in contaminated food, water, or soil.