OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Blastocystis hominis: A comparative study of the factors affecting high prevalence in the United States and Venezuela

TitleBlastocystis hominis: A comparative study of the factors affecting high prevalence in the United States and Venezuela
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMorgan, Brittany Liesel
Academic DepartmentBiology
Thesis AdvisorChi, Chunhuei
DegreeHonors Baccalaureate of Arts in International Studies in Biology
Number of Pages58
Date Published06/2009
UniversityOregon State University
CityCorvallis
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordsbiology, environmental factors, parasite, Venezuela
Abstract

Blastocystis hominis is one of the most common intestinal protozoa found in humans globally. Recent studies indicate that B. hominis is the most common protozoan parasite found in the human intestinal tract both in the United States and Venezuela. Still, research concerning Blastocystis remains inadequate and its pathogenicity has yet to be determined because of limited studies and the lack of an animal model. This thesis aimed to examine the factors accommodating the spread of B. hominis and contributing to high infection prevalences in the United States and Venezuela. After conducting a thorough review of literature and studies published by investigators worldwide, it was found that environmental conditions, such as contamination of water sources and living/working in close proximity to animals, as well as social factors, such as poverty and low levels of education play a considerable role in B. hominis transmission and elevated prevalence in both countries. This knowledge will enable us to direct futureB. hominis research, and to narrow down the transmission-accommodating risk factors and conditions we should be looking to address in both developing and industrialized countries suffering from high B. hominis infection, so that the most effective programs possible can be implemented to reduce high worldwide prevalence.