Giardia duodenalis is a well recognised enteropathogen, while Dientamoeba fragilis
is rarely detected and consequently it is not recognised as an important human pathogen.
In 2002-2003, a survey has been carried out on enteroparasites in faecal samples of
outpatients attending a day care centre in the town of Perugia (Central Italy). To
improve the detection level, at least three samples from each patient were collected
at different days and within two hours from defecation. The coproparasitological examination
has been carried out by direct microscopic examination, faecal concentration, and
Giemsa and modified Ziehl-Nielsen stainings of faecal smears. The genotypes of Giardia
duodenalis isolates were determined by PCR of the beta-giardin gene. Of 1,989 enrolled
people (966 children, 1,023 adults), 165 persons (8.3%; 153 adults, 15.0%; 12 children,
1.2%), were positive for parasites, but only 1 12 adults (73.2% of those infected)
and eight children (66.7% of those infected) harboured D. fragilis and G. duodenalis.
Both the Assemblages A and B were detected in 18 G. duodenalis isolates examined at
the beta-giardin gene. The higher prevalence of D. fragilis infections than that of
G. duodenalis is probably related to the method used, a procedure, which is rarely
followed in laboratories for the diagnosis of enteric parasites. These epidemiological
data suggest that when faecal samples are examined after a period of time and without
Giemsa staining, most D. fragilis infections goes undetected.