December 4, 1972

Parasite Transmission

Author Affiliations

St. John's University Jamaica, NY

JAMA. 1972;222(10):1309-1310. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210100057026

To the Editor.—  In a letter (221:917, 1972), Dr. Paul Abrahm described a case of mixed intestinal parasitism in a young man. After recurrences over a period of several months, Dr. Abrahm decided finally that the mode of transmission was via contaminated marihuana: "They had sprinkled it raw on their salads!"There is no question but that pathogenic and nonpathogenic intestinal parasites are transmitted frequently by ingesting contaminated food or water that may contain cysts, ova, or live trophozoites. However, in the case of one of the organisms found by Dr. Abrahm, the life cycle is such as to preclude that mode of transmission unless the carrier material had been contaminated immediately before consumption. The parasite in question—Dientamoeba fragilis—is regarded as being extremely delicate in its trophozoite stage. Furthermore, ova and cysts are not produced by this organism. Reproduction is by way of simple fission. As Belding1