CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · J Lab Physicians 2023; 15(03): 443-449
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1764482
Original Article

Microsporidia in HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Pediatric Patients with Diarrhea at a Tertiary Care Hospital

Dinesh Kumar
1   Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2   Department of Microbiology, Government Institute of Medical Sciences, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
Suneeta Meena
1   Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
Purva Mathur
3   Department of Laboratory Medicine, Jai Prakash Narain Apex Trauma Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
Sushil Kumar Kabra
4   Department of Paediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
Rakesh Lodha
4   Department of Paediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
1   Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
5   Medical Sciences and Engineering Research (MEDSER) Centre, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal-462066, Madhya Pradesh, India
› Author Affiliations
Funding Nil.


Background Human microsporidiosis presents as an important and rapidly emerging opportunistic infection. However, the exact burden of this infection especially in the pediatric population of Northern India remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of microsporidia among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive and HIV-negative pediatric patients who presented with diarrhea.

Methods A total of 263 children were recruited consisting of 98 HIV seropositive with diarrhea and 165 HIV seronegative but with diarrhea. Morning stool samples were collected and both direct and formol ether concentrated samples were examined for the presence of intestinal parasites. The modified acid-fast staining was done for coccidian parasites and trichrome stain for microsporidia detection. Further, the species were detected using a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting a conserved region of the small ribosomal subunit rRNA gene of Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon hellem, Encephalitozoon intestinalis, and Encephalitozoon cuniculi.

Results Overall, one or more parasites were detected in 52.04% (51/98) of HIV seropositive and 53.33% (88/165) of seronegative children (p = 0.8391). However, coccidian parasites were detected in a significantly huge number of HIV seropositive children (21.43% [21/98]) as compared with HIV seronegative children (4.24% [7/165]). Microsporidial DNA could be detected in HIV seropositive with diarrhea children (17.35% [17/98]) by PCR. A significant correlation between low CD4 count (≤ 200/μL) and intestinal parasite positivity could be established.

Conclusion Microsporidia is a significant cause of diarrhea in HIV seropositive pediatric patients and should be kept in mind as one of the differential diagnoses in such patients.

Presentation at a Meeting


Publication History

Received: 27 December 2022

Accepted: 29 December 2022

Article published online:
27 March 2023

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