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blastocystis hominis

Chuck Staben staben at pop.uky.edu
Tue Jun 13 07:22:40 EST 1995

Blastocystis has been classified as a yeast, related to Schizosaccharomyces, and as a 
sporozoan.  A fragment of the rRNA has been sequenced, yet it was not clear to me whether this 
was sufficient to relate Blastocystis to other organisms.  I could find little that clearly 
indicated this organism was pathogenic, although there are several such reports.  These 
reports usually indicate diarrhea as the primary symptom.  I could not find any indications of 

Even though your wife has blastocystis infection, her symptoms may be caused by some other 
infectious agent or by some other problem.  If her physicians were convinced that there were 
no other problem and that side effects would not be a problem, they might try treatment with 
antifungals like ketoconazole, or antiprotozoals like metronidazole, or even 
trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.  These would all be shots in the dark.  There is a culture 
system for blastocystis, so a very interested laboratory might be able to at least test 
the in vitro susceptibility of blastocystis to these treatments before treating your wife.  
Note that most of these drugs can cause serious side effects in certain clinical situations, 
so be certain that the physician carefully considers the potential value of such therapies.

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