Risk Factors and How To Prevent From Getting Dientamoeba fragilis
It is important to mention that everybody seems to be at risk of becoming infected at one point with Dientamoeba fragilis. This parasite is indeed widespread all across the world and some evidences suggest that the infection rate is very high in the general population. As a matter of fact, some evidences linking the presence of antibodies against this parasite with its actual occurrence suggest that almost all the population, even in developed countries, has encounter Dientamoeba fragilis at least once in their life. Some scientists even suggest that it could be the most prevalent parasitic infection in the entire world. However, more epidemiological data using better diagnostic tools will be needed to assess the real infection rate of this parasite, as the current diagnostic tools available in medical laboratory often miss this infection.
Due to a lack of research, the exact mode of transmission of this parasite is still unknown, but it seems to be related to the fecal-oral route as the other known intestinal parasites. This mode of transmission usually involves a contact between the mouth and something contaminated (food, water, object or hand) with faeces of an infected human or animal. However, this is actually just a hypothesis (even though a strong one) and it has not been validated yet by strong scientific proofs. As such, it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact risk factors of getting this parasite and, consequently, it is also difficult to provide extensive reliable prevention tips in order to avoid being infected by Dientamoeba fragilis.
Some epidemiological studies have helped deducing some of the risk factors associated with infections by this parasite. It is important to note that some of these epidemiological data could also contradict one another. For example, according to some data, the number of infections tends to be higher in area with poor sanitation. However, that does not mean that it is only present in developing countries, like many other parasites, as other epidemiological data has shown that infections with this parasite tend to be higher in developed countries. Furthermore, overcrowded places also tend to contribute to the propagation of the infection, probably because of the frequent contacts between people. As such, military personnel and people living in various institutions, such as mental health institutions, are also more at risk of becoming infected by this parasite. It has also been showed that living in the same household of an infected person, even if this person does not present any symptom at all, is considered as a risk factor of getting infected. As such, an effective way to prevent from getting infected with this parasite is to have a good hygiene, including washing hands after using the toilet or changing baby’s diaper, as well as before preparing food or eating it. This prevention mean is crucial if you know that someone in your household is infected. As it is thought that asymptomatic people could transmit this parasite via their faeces, it could be indicated to diagnose and treat preventively all the people living in the same household than an infected person that is experiencing symptoms in order to prevent its potential reinfection.
As this infection is more prevalent in children, being a child is also considered as a great risk factor of getting infected by this parasite. Children, especially the younger ones, have a tendency to put everything in their mouth. Furthermore, they usually play a lot outside and do not always think to wash their hands afterwards. For children, a good prevention mean is to teach them early how to have a good hygiene, including how to wash their hands properly, as well as the importance of it. It is particularly important for young children to wash their hands before eating, as they have a tendency to eat using their fingers. Beside Dientamoeba fragilis, this measure could prevent them to get a lot of other infectious diseases.
As we will be getting more information about this specific parasite in the future, notably about its exact mode of transmission, it will be easier to know precisely the actual risk factors of getting infected with it. Consequently, it will also be easier to pinpoint the right prevention means in order to avoid getting this infection.