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DPDx is an education resource designed for health professionals and laboratory scientists. For an overview including prevention and control visit http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/nonpathprotozoa/index.html.

Chilomastix mesnili

[Chilomastix mesnili]

Trophozoites of C. mesnili from a stool specimen, stained with trichrome. Image taken at 1000x magnification.

Trophozoite of Chilomastix mesnili from a stool specimen, stained with trichrome. Image taken at 1000x magnification.


Trophozoites of C. mesnili from a stool specimen, stained with trichrome. Image taken at 1000x magnification.

Trophozoite of C. mesnili from a stool specimen, stained with trichrome. Image taken at 1000x magnification.


Cysts of <em>C. mesnili</em> in a concentrated wet mount of stool, stained with iodine. Images taken at 1000x magnification.

Cyst of C. mesnili in a wet mount, stained with iodine.

Causal Agents

Chilomastix mesnili, a nonpathogenic flagellate.

Life Cycle

Life cycle of chilomastix

The cyst stage is resistant to environmental pressures and is responsible for transmission of Chilomastix. Both cysts and trophozoites can be found in the feces (diagnostic stages) The Number 1. Infection occurs by the ingestion of cysts in contaminated water, food, or by the fecal-oral route (hands or fomites) The Number 2. In the large (and possibly small) intestine, excystation releases trophozoites. Chilomastix resides in the cecum and/or colon; it is generally considered a commensal whose contribution to pathogenesis is uncertain. Animals may serve as a reservoir for Chilomastix.

Geographic Distribution

Worldwide.

Clinical Presentation

Chilomastix mesnili is considered nonpathogenic. The presence of cysts and/or trophozoites in stool specimens can however be an indicator of fecal contamination of a food or water source, and thus does not rule-out other parasitic infections.

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  • Page last reviewed November 29, 2013
  • Page last updated November 29, 2013
  • Content source: Global Health - Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
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