A high prevalence of Dientamoeba fragilis is reported in faecal samples collected from patients attending complementary medicine practitioners in the British Isles. Specimens were collected directly after passing into sodium acetate–acetic acid–formalin (SAF). During two observation periods in 2002–04 and 2005–07, a D fragilis prevalence of 14.6% (n = 543) and 16.9% (n = 421), respectively, was recorded. These results confirm a surprisingly high prevalence of D fragilis among a selected population. Clinical information was only available for half of the patients with D fragilis; 50% of requests with clinical information reported gastrointestinal symptoms. For further work on its pathogenic role and prevalence among patients with gastrointestinal symptoms, immediate collection in SAF should be considered the optimal sampling modality for UK based laboratories.
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Competing interests: None.