Predominance of Gastrointestinal Protozoan Parasites in Children: A Brief Review

Intestinal parasitic infections caused by intestinal helminths and protozoa are among the most common human infections endemic throughout the world especially in tropical and subtropical countries including India. About 3.5 billion persons are infected with intestinal parasites and nearly 450 million suffer from clinical morbidity. The protozoan parasites are the more common cause of gastrointestinal disorders compared to helminthes especially in developing countries. A number of intestinal protozoan parasites are reported in different parts of the world like Giardia lamblia, DiEntamoeba fragilis, Entamoeba histolytica, Blastocystis homini, Isospora belli, Cyclospora cayetanensis and Microsporidia.

Protozoan Parasites
Protozoan Parasites

Among them Entamoeba, Giardia and Cryptosporidium are the major protozoan parasites of global public health concern. Protozoan parasites being single celled can rapidly multiply inside the body leading to the development of the serious infection. Most of the protozoan infections tend to be asymptomatic. However, the common symptoms associated with it include abdominal discomfort, vomiting and dysentery. When burden of infection is pronounced, it may cause several complications like diarrhea, malaise, bloating, fatigue, epigastric discomfort, malnutrition, mal-absorption, intestinal ulceration, gastroenteritis, weight loss, abscesses, mental retardation and even death.

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