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Prevalence and subtype distribution of Blastocystis in healthy individuals in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

AbuOdeh, Raed, Ezzedine, Sinda, Samie, Amidou, Stensvold, Christen Rune, ElBakri, Ali
Infection, genetics, and evolution 2016 v.37 pp. 158-162
Blastocystis, feces, gender, humans, intestines, parasites, provenance, ribosomal RNA, sequence analysis, United Arab Emirates
Blastocystis is estimated to be one of the most common parasites of the intestinal tract of humans, comprising multiple subtypes (ST). Meanwhile, the distribution of Blastocystis ST in many communities and countries remains unknown. In the present work, we aimed to identify the prevalence of Blastocystis and the ST distribution in human stool samples collected from healthy expatriates from different geographical regions and residing in Sharjah, United Arabian Emirates (UAE). A total of 133 samples were screened and subtyped using partial small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Fifty-nine (44.4%) samples were identified as positive. Among these, 39 were successfully sequenced and subtyped. The ST distribution was as follows: ST3, 58.9% (23/39); ST1, 28.2% (11/39); and ST2, 7.6% (3/39). No correlation between geographic origin and infection (χ2=11.006; P=0.528) nor gender and infection (χ2=1.264; P=0.261) was observed. The data were compared with those available for other Middle Eastern and North African neighboring countries. This study is the first to provide data concerning the prevalence of Blastocystis and the frequency of various STs in the UAE, confirming the absence of ST4 and the commonness of ST1, ST2, and ST3 in this geographical region.