Microsporidiosis

  • Medical Author:
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

Microsporidiosis facts

  • Microsporidiosis is a disease that is caused by small parasites called microsporidia.
  • Generally, microsporidia do not cause disease in healthy people but rather in people with immune system deficiency.
  • Microsporidiosis can cause chronic diarrhea, kidney disease, and infection of the sinuses and eyes.
  • Diagnosing microsporidiosis requires laboratory testing.
  • Treatment of microsporidiosis requires medications and supportive care.

What is microsporidiosis? What causes the disease?

Microsporidiosis is a disease caused by infection with microscopic organisms called microsporidia. Microsporidia are eukaryotic parasites that must live within other host cells in which they can produce infective spores. These spores cause microsporidiosis, a disease which is primarily seen in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Microsporidiosis can cause infection of the intestine, lung, kidney, brain, sinuses, muscles, and eyes. Although there are over 1,200 species of microsporidia, the most prevalent pathogens (disease-causing agents) in humans include Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Encephalitozoon cuniculi, and Encephalitozoon intestinalis.

How are microsporidia transmitted?

Microsporidia spores are released from the stool and urine of infected animals. A number of animals, including insects, birds, and mammals, can serve as reservoirs of infection for microsporidia. These spores are then consumed or inhaled by humans.

Once within a cell, the microsporidia develop and multiply, producing more spores. The infective spores are then released when the cell expands and bursts.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Microsporidiosis - Symptoms

    What were your symptoms associated with microsporidiosis?

    Post
  • Microsporidiosis - Treatments

    What kinds of treatment did you receive for microsporidiosis?

    Post
  • Microsporidiosis - Diagnosis

    What types of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of microsporidiosis for you or someone you know?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors