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Brief Summary

Retortamonas intestinalis is a flagellated protozoan found in the human intestinal lumen and is generally considered to be a commensal organism (i.e., benefiting from its association with the host, but causing the host no harm). It has not been reported from non-human hosts. Discovered in Egypt in 1917, R. intestinalis has a worldwide distribution. It is not especially common anywhere, but is usually associated with a warm climate and poor sanitation. In the large (and possibly small) intestine, excystation releases trophozoites. Both pyriform cysts and trophozoites are passed in the stools of infected individuals and other individuals can be infected via the ingestion of cysts in fecal-contaminated food or water or fomites (i.e., other non-living objects or substances that can transmit cysts). However, incidence of infection is generally very low even where hygiene is very poor. Retortamonas intestinalis is usually detected in diarrhea stools, but because it is not known to be pathogenic, there is no established "treatment" to eradicate it. (Kawamura et al. 2001; Centers for Disease Control Parasites and Health website)


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