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Lancet; National Library of Medicine, MDX Health Digest

Title:   Lethal infection by a previously unrecognised metazoan parasite

Source:  Lancet; National Library of Medicine, MDX Health Digest
Date:  06/29/1996
Price:  Free
Document Size:  Very Short (175 words)
Document ID:  DG19990615030206007
Subject(s):  Infection; Parasites
Infectious & communicable diseases; Parasitic infections
Citation Information:  Volume 347 Issue 9018 Page(s) 1797-801
Author(s):  M. Santamaria-Fries; L. F. Fajardo; M. L. Sogin; P. D. Olson; D. A. Relman
Document Type:  Article summaries

  Lancet; National Library of Medicine, MDX Health Digest

Lethal infection by a previously unrecognised metazoan parasite

BACKGROUND: New microbial pathogens or variant clinical manifestations of known organisms may be first found in immunodeficient patients. An HIV-infected man developed a rapidly-enlarging abdominal mass, suggestive of a neoplasm, that subsequently invaded his liver and caused death. Initial studies showed unusual tissue morphology that could not be matched with any known disease process. METHODS: Tissues obtained from biopsy at laparotomy and necropsy were studied by light microscopy, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and broad-range ribosomal DNA-amplification and sequence analysis. FINDINGS: Tissue lesions were characterised by peculiar cytoplasmic sacs containing minute cells with very prominent nucleoli. The pathological process was recognised as a parasitic infection, although its features were different from those of any known eukaryotic pathogen. Phylogenetic analysis of a 357 bp 18S rDNA sequence amplified directly from the involved tissue indicated that the causative agent was a previously-uncharacterised cestode. INTERPRETATION: Fatal disease produced by this newly recognised cestode may not be limited to immunodeficient hosts. Awareness of this metazoan infection may allow early diagnosis-by morphology and DNA sequence analysis--and perhaps successful treatment of subsequent cases.

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