[Microsporidiosis: an emerging and opportunistic infection].Invest Clin. 2006 Jun; 47(2):105-7.IC
Microsporidiosis is considered as an emerging and opportunistic infection. The etiologic agents, microsporidia, are small single-celled and obligate intracellular organisms. Recently they were reclassified with the fungi. Of the 14 species currently known to infect humans, Enterocytozoon bieneusi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis are the most common. Species infecting humans have been found in wild, domestic, and food-producing farm animals, as well as in water sources, raising concerns for zoonotic, foodborne, and waterborne transmission. Chronic or self-limiting diarrhea is the most common symptom associated with microsporidiosis in immune-suppressed or immune-competent individuals. In patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection rates up to 50% have been reported. In Venezuela, the extent of microsporidial infection and its effects on human health are unknown. In a recent study of 103 HIV-infected patients from ten different sectors of Zulia State, microsporidian infections were identified in 14 (13.6%) of them; this finding suggests that microsporidia are common among these patients and are widely distributed in the region. Therefore, it is necessary to implement the techniques to diagnose these infectious agents in the health laboratories in the country in order to prescribe the specific treatment and to study the risk factors for infection to develop preventive measures to control the spread of microsporidia.