Summary and Info
The Pathogenic Enteric Protozoa: Giardia, Entamoeba, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora compromise the health of millions of people, largely from developing nations. These protozoan parasitic agents contribute significantly to the staggering caseload of diarrheal disease morbidity encountered in developing world nations. Compounding the issue of their mere presence is the fact that standard ova and parasite exams frequently do not detect these infections. Detectable stages may be shed intermittently or require specialized staining procedures. Added to this is the often large number of asymptomatic carriers who serve as reservoirs for infecting others. These parasites are also not strangers to more developed nations, having responsibility for both small and large-scale disease outbreaks. In such settings they may be even more difficult to detect simply because they are frequently overlooked in the grand scheme of disease causing possibilities. They share common features: all are Protozoa, all possess trophic stages that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, all have the ability to produce disease and in some instances death, and all produce environmentally stable cysts or oocysts, which ensure their transmissibility.
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