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The Prevalence of Blastocystis hominis and Other Protozoan Parasites in Soldiers Returning from Peacekeeping Missions

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  • Department of Biology and Medical Parasitology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland; Clinic of Haematology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland

Blastocystis hominis is a common intestinal parasite found in humans living in poor sanitary conditions, living in tropical and subtropical climates, exposed to infected animals, or consuming contaminated food or water. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of B. hominis in Polish military personnel returning from peacekeeping missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, 1,826 stool samples were examined. Gastrointestinal parasites were detected in 17% of the soldiers. The examined stool samples most frequently contained vacuolar forms of B. hominis (15.3%) and cysts of Entamoeba coli (1.0%) or Giardia lamblia (0.7%). In 97.1% of stool samples from infected soldiers, we observed less than five developmental forms of B. hominis in the field of view (40×). The parasite infections in soldiers were diagnosed in the autumn and the spring. There was no statistical correlation between age and B. hominis infection. Our results show that peacekeeping missions in countries with tropical or subtropical climates could be associated with risk for parasitic diseases, including blastocystosis.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Danuta Kosik-Bogacka, Department of Biology and Medical Parasitology, Pomeranian Medical University, Powstanców Wielkopolskich 72, 70-111 Szczecin, Poland. E-mail: kodan@pum.edu.pl

Authors' addresses: Aleksandra Duda, Danuta Kosik-Bogacka, Natalia Lanocha-Arendarczyk, and Lidia Kołodziejczyk, Department of Biology and Medical Parasitology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland, E-mails: aleksandra_duda@interia.pl, kodan@pum.edu.pl, nlanocha@pum.edu.pl, and lkolo@pum.edu.pl. Aleksandra Lanocha, Clinic of Haematology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland, E-mail: aleksandra.lanocha@o2.pl.

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