Aim: This cross-sectional study aims to assess the prevalence of Cryptosporidium in hemodialysis patients compared with healthy individuals in central Iran from August 2014 to January 2015.
Background: Cryptosporidiosis is a major cause of acute and persistent diarrhea with significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients such as those undergoing renal dialysis.
Methods: Three stool samples were collected from 330 hemodialysis patients and 150 healthy individuals on 3 consecutive days. The samples were screened for Cryptosporidium infection using formalin-ether sedimentation and modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining. Demographic variables as well as risk factors were recorded.
Results: Out of 330 dialysis patients and 150 healthy individuals, 10 (3%) and 1 (0.7%) were infected with Cryptosporidium, respectively. We found statistically significant differences between infection and place of residency, hygiene status, education level, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in the two groups (p<0.05). On the other hand, there was no relationship between infection and sex, contact with domestic animals, fever, vomiting, nausea, flatulence, anorexia, duration of dialysis and underlying disorders in the two groups. Also, there was a statistically significant difference between age and infection in hemodialysis patients (p=0.003). A higher infection rate was observed in patients under 20 years of age.
Conclusion: Risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection must be controlled. We strongly recommended that stool samples from such patients, especially those with severe or prolonged diarrhea, should be examined with modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining for appropriate and timely treatment.