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.

Microsporidiosis Symptom

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision refers to a lack of sharpness of vision resulting in the inability to see fine detail. Blurred vision may result from abnormalities such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, or astigmatism that can be improved with corrective lenses (eyeglasses) or it may signal the presence of eye disease. Blurry vision may be experienced in one eye or in both eyes, depending upon the cause.

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 that is primarily seen in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), although it can rarely also cause disease in individuals with a normal immune system. Microsporidia are found worldwide, and there are numerous vertebrates and invertebrates that can serve as hosts for this parasite.

Microsporidiosis can cause infection of the intestine, lung, kidney, brain, sinuses, muscles, and eyes. Although there are over 1,200 species of microsporidia, there are 15 species that have been identified as causing disease in humans.

What are risk factors for microsporidiosis?

The main risk factor associated with acquiring microsporidiosis is immunodeficiency. The vast majority of cases of microsporidiosis occur in individuals with a compromised immune system, primarily in people with HIV/AIDS-related immunosuppression. It can also affect immunocompromised individuals such as organ-transplant recipients, people with diabetes, cancer patients, and those who are chronically on steroids. Rarely, microsporidiosis can occur in healthy people with a normal immune system.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/22/2016

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