Declining CD4+ T-Lymphocyte Counts Are Associated With Increased Risk of Enteric Parasitosis and Chronic Diarrhea: Results of a 3-Year Longitudinal Study


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Abstract

From January 1991 through September 1994, we observed people who were infected with HIV to assess the impact of enteric parasite-associated diarrhea. Respondents answered comprehensive questionnaires covering clinical and epidemiologic information and provided stool specimens monthly, which were examined unstained as well as stained with trichrome, chromotrope 2R, and with Kinyoun carbol-fuchsin, and with indirect immunofluorescence for Cryptosporidium. In all, 602 participants, who were interviewed, provided stool specimens at 3254 monthly visits. Parasites were associated with 50 of 354 (14.1%) acute diarrheal episodes (lasting ≤28 days) and with 97 of 279 (34.8%) chronic episodes (lasting >28 days). A parasite was associated with 31 of 222 (14.0%) episodes that occurred when CD4+ counts were ≥200 cells/μl and with 150 of 566 (26.5%) episodes that occurred when CD4+ counts were <200 cells/μl. The most commonly identified parasite was C parvum, which was associated with 18 of 354 (5.1%) acute episodes and 36 (12.9%) of the 279 chronic episodes of diarrhea. In this patient population, enteric protozoan parasites were commonly associated with illness, particularly as immunosuppression worsened, and were more likely to be associated with chronic rather than acute diarrhea.

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