Diagnosis of intestinal microsporidiosis by examination of stool and duodenal aspirate with Weber's modified trichrome and Uvitex 2B stains

P. C. DeGirolami, C. R. Ezratty, G. Desai, A. McCullough, D. Asmuth, C. Wanke, M. Federman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Severe, chronic diarrhea is a frequent complication of human immunodeficiency virus disease, and intestinal microsporidiosis is being recognized with increasing frequency in patients with AIDS. Noninvasive, cost-effective techniques are needed to optimize its diagnosis. Weber's modified trichrome stain (MTS) and the fluorochrome Uvitex 2B stain were used to detect microsporidial spores in smears of stool and duodenal aspirate (DA) samples received from human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients for examination for ova and parasites. Of 305 samples (292 stool and 13 DA samples) from 140 patients examined by MTS, 83 samples from 26 (18.6%) of the patients were positive for microsporidia (23 patients diagnosed initially and 3 diagnosed upon review). A subset of the samples studied by MTS consisting of 108 smears of stool and DA specimens from 60 patients was examined by Uvitex 2B. All 44 samples positive by MTS were also positive by Uvitex 2B. In addition, seven specimens and three patients were initially detected as positive by Uvitex 2B only (all three patients were positive also by MTS upon review). Confirmation of the diagnosis was obtained for 24 of 26 smear- positive patients by duodenal biopsy and/or stool transmission electron microscopy. Of 114 patients with stained smears negative for microsporidia, 23 had duodenal biopsies which showed no microsporidia. For the 43 patients who underwent duodenal biopsy, the sensitivity of both the MTS and the Uvitex 2B methods compared with biopsy results was 100%. Of six patients with negative duodenal biopsies and positive stained smears, four had microsporidia demonstrated by stool transmission electron microscopy. The examination of stool and DA smears stained by Uvitex 2B and/or MTS is a sensitive, noninvasive test for diagnosis of intestinal microsporidiosis which can be successfully implemented in a clinical laboratory. Strict adherence to precise diagnostic criteria is necessary to avoid incorrect results. The simultaneous use of both staining methods enhances performance and may provide greater accuracy, especially for patients with light infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-810
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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