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Molecular Epidemiology of Blastocystis in Lebanon and Correlation between Subtype 1 and Gastrointestinal Symptoms

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  • Institut Pasteur de Lille, Centre d'Infection et d'Immunité de Lille, Inserm U1019, CNRS UMR 8204, Université Lille Nord de France, EA4547, Lille, France; Centre AZM pour la Recherche en Biotechnologie et ses Applications, Laboratoire Microbiologie, Santé et Environnement, Université Libanaise, Tripoli, Lebanon; Department of Biomedical Sciences, Division of Experimental and Clinical Microbiology, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy; Laboratoire Microorganismes: Génome et Environnement, CNRS UMR 6023, Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, Aubière, France

Blastocystis is the most common eukaryotic parasite in the intestinal tract of humans. Because of its potential impact in public health, we acquired the first data concerning the prevalence of this parasite and the frequency of the Blastocystis subtypes (STs) in the Lebanese population. In this study, fecal samples from 220 Lebanese symptomatic and asymptomatic patients were collected and a total of 42 patients (19%) were identified as positive for this parasite by direct-light microscopy of smears. Among these, 36 Blastocystis isolates were genotyped using partial small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. The ST distribution in the present Lebanese population was as follows: ST3 (33.3%), ST2 (33.3%), ST1 (30.6%), and ST4 (2.8%). These data were compared with those available in other Middle Eastern and neighboring countries. Finally, ST1 was significantly more prevalent among symptomatic patients of this Lebanese population.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Eric Viscogliosi, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Centre d'Infection et d'Immunité de Lille, Inserm U1019, CNRS UMR 8204, Université Lille Nord de France, Biology and Diversity of Emerging Eukaryotic Pathogens, EA4547, 1 rue du Professeur Calmette, BP 245, 59019 Lille cedex, France. E-mail: eric.viscogliosi@pasteur-lille.fr

Financial support: This work was supported by grants from the Programme Orientations Stratégiques from the University of Lille 2, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and the Institut Pasteur of Lille. DES and MO were both supported by PhD fellowships from the Conseil National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Azm & Saade Association from Lebanon, and DM by a PhD fellowship from the Regione Autonoma della Sardegna.

Authors' addresses: Dima El Safadi, Marwan Osman, Hassan Mallat, Fouad Dabboussi, and Monzer Hamze, Centre AZM - Microbiologie, Santé et Environnement, Tripoli, Lebanon, E-mails: dima.elsafadi@hotmail.com, hmallat.dr@gmail.com, rexujo@hotmail.com, fdaboussi@hotmail.com, and mhamze@monzerhamze.com. Dionigia Meloni, Amandine Cian, Lobna Gaayeb, Laurence Delhaes, Eduardo Dei-Cas, and Eric Viscogliosi, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Centre d'Infection et d'Immunité de Lille, Lille, France, E-mails: dionigia09@hotmail.it, amandine_2906@hotmail.fr, lobna.gaayeb@gmail.com, laurence.delhaes@pasteur-lille.fr, eduardo.dei-cas@pasteur-lille.fr, and eric.viscogliosi@pasteur-lille.fr. Philippe Poirier, Ivan Wawrzyniak, Frederic Delbac, and Hicham El Alaoui, Université Blaise Pascal - Laboratoire Microorganismes: Génome et Environnement, Clermont-Ferrand, France, E-mails: philippe_poirier@hotmail.fr, ivan.wawrzyniak@univ-bpclermont.fr, frederic.delbac@univ-bpclermont.fr, and hicham.el_alaoui@univ-bpclermont.fr.

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