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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2009, Article ID 926521, 13 pages
Review Article

Molecular Diagnostic Tests for Microsporidia

1Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark, NY 07102, USA
3Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA

Received 31 March 2009; Accepted 12 May 2009

Academic Editor: Herbert B. Tanowitz

Copyright © 2009 Kaya Ghosh and Louis M. Weiss. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Microsporidia are a ubiquitous group of eukaryotic obligate intracellular parasites which were recognized over 100 years ago with the description of Nosema bombycis, a parasite of silkworms. It is now appreciated that these organisms are related to the Fungi. Microsporidia infect all major animal groups most often as gastrointestinal pathogens; however they have been reported from every tissue and organ, and their spores are common in environmental sources such as ditch water. Several different genera of these organisms infect humans, but the majority of infections are due to either Enterocytozoon bieneusi or Encephalitozoon species. These pathogens can be difficult to diagnose, but significant progress has been made in the last decade in the development of molecular diagnostic reagents for these organisms. This report reviews the molecular diagnostic tests that have been described for the identification of the microsporidia that infect humans.