How do you get Dientamoeba Fragilis?

Hi there. Eric Bakker, naturopath from New Zealand back again to talk to you about Dientamoeba Fragilis, a parasite. Let’s have a look at causes. How do you get this infection? Why would you pick up a parasite? It’s not something that you would normally like to get from somebody, but it’s generally something you picked up from somebody – a little bit like an STD. Not a nice present to have, but you can get it. You can also get it often while traveling, in my opinion. This interesting little bug has not so much been found in domestic animals, it’s been found in non-human primates and it’s certainly been found more recently in pigs. Pigs can have large colonies of this bug.

In the first video I did in the series when I spoke about what Dientamoeba Fragilis is, I mentioned that this very interesting little parasite doesn’t really have a cyst stage. It’s got basically more of a mature stage straight up. So it’s not going to live for very long outside of the host, unlike Blastocystis or other parasites that can go into more of a dormant phase. Generally, I think how it will be picked up will be hand-to-hand contact, oral/fecal route or not proper hand washing. This is a big thing that I have spoken about in previous videos. It only takes a few minutes to wash hands. I think this is where one of the biggest transmissions of many different sicknesses come from, even influenza, colds and flus. It’s just from washing the hands.

I remember when I was at medical college; we were studying and I could remember one of the teachers saying, “Look, if you want to prevent disease, one of the easiest ways to do it is just to wash the hands.” He, in fact, went to the sink and showed us how to wash the hands and how long it took to wash the hands properly. It wasn’t just a quick sort of like this you know, it was actually a proper hand washing. Not that I’m very anal when it comes to hand washing, but I’ve certainly made a practice to really look after hygiene. Especially when I go traveling a lot. I go to airports, in taxis and hotels and things like that. When I did a lot of traveling a few years ago, I was very conscious of getting off an airplane and washing the hands, for example. Very important thing to do if you go to a third-world country is to be careful about hygiene.

Also, utensil sharing. Look at different places where you eat. Just keep an eye on your hygiene in general for the next few days and you might be surprised how often you will go somewhere or touch something, and before you know it, the hand goes up to the eye, or to the mouth, and you’re not even thinking about hand washing. This is how bugs get from one place to another.

A common cause of Dientamoeba Fragilis infection is poor hygiene. No one is going to stand there and tell you to put this bug inside your mouth, you’re the one who gets it into your system. It’s basically your responsibility to keep your hygiene first-rate if you want to avoid transmission of many different diseases; not just parasites, but sexually transmitted diseases as well. We all know that. A lot of us don’t know about parasites. Some people actually think that you get it for some unknown reason. Well, you don’t. You get an infection for a specific reason. So you need to be very cautious.

Many parasites in general are unfortunately not taken seriously by the medical profession. It’s amazing how many patients I’ve seen over the years that had one or several parasites that were never investigated properly. That’s what we’re going to talk about coming up very soon in another video. We’re going to talk about tests and diagnosis for Dientamoeba Fragilis. So is there a cause for this bug? It is. It could be from travel, but generally I think it comes from poor hygiene. Thanks for tuning in – catch you in the next video where we’re going to talk about testing.

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