East African Medical Journal

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Blastocystis infection in patients presenting with abdominal symptoms at Mbagathi District Hospital and Mama Lucy District Hospital

W.J. Kemboi, D Nyamongo, W Sang


Background: Blastocystis spp. is the most common enteric parasite that has a global distribution with higher prevalence in developing countries. Kenya being one of the developing countries, there is need to have current epidemiological data regarding the parasite. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence and prevalence of Blastocystis infection in patients presenting with abdominal symptoms at the selected facilities.

Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study design was used to investigate the presence and association between Blastocystis spp. infection and profile of patients presenting with abdominal symptoms at Mbagathi and Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospitals in Nairobi. Stool samples from 249 patients were collected and analyzed at National Public Health Laboratory Services (NPHLS) for presence of Blastocystis infection by wet mount direct microscopy, iodine staining and formal ether sample concentration technique.

Results: prevalence of Blastocystis infection was 12%, with a higher significance in males (53%) than females (47%) (X2 = 4.26, p=0.039, 95% C.I). There was no statistical significance (X2 = 3.36, p= 0.5, 95% C.I) in the distribution of Blastocystis infection by age group. The prevalence of Blastocystis infection was higher in patients of low-income level. No association between eatery and the infection was found (r=-0.194, n=38 and p=0.242, 95% C.I).

Conclusion: The study revealed the presence of Blastocystis infection in the study population and a significant association between gender, symptoms and the infection. Further studies; molecular assays should be employed in generating epidemiological data on the subtypes and clinical significance of this infection.

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