Intestinal parasitic infections in different groups of immunocompromised patients in Kashan and Qom cities, central Iran

Introduction: Intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) are important causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with immunocompromising conditions.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of IPIs in different groups of immunocompromised patients, including hemodialysis patients (HD), renal transplant recipients (RTR), cancer and HIV/AIDS patients in comparison with healthy individuals in two central cities of Iran (Kashan and Qom).

Methods: In this case–control study, the stool samples of 135 HD, 50 RTR, 60 cancer patients, 20 HIV/AIDS patients and 120 healthy subjects were tested using direct-smear, formol-ether concentration, Ziehl–Neelsen staining and Agar plate method.

Results: The overall infection rate was 11.7% (31/265) in patient groups and 0% (0/120) in the control group. The frequency of parasites was 25% in HIV/AIDS patients, 11.9% (16/135) in HD, 12.0% (6/50) in RTR and 6.7% (4/60) in cancer patients. Blastocystis hominis (4.2%) and Giardia lamblia (3.0%) were the most prevalent parasites in patient groups. The infection rate was significantly higher in male (17.6%) than female (5.4%) patients (p = .002), but no statistically significant association was observed according to the age and educational levels.

Conclusions: This study showed a high prevalence of IPIs in immunocompromised patients. The results of this study suggest that periodic stool examinations for screening of IPIs should be included as a part of routine medical care in these patients.