Failure to eradicate Isospora belli diarrhoea despite immune reconstitution in adults with HIV--a case series

Isospora belli causes diarrhoea in patients with AIDS. Most respond to targeted therapy and recommendations are that secondary prophylaxis can be stopped following immune reconstitution with ART. We report eight cases of chronic isosporiasis that persisted despite standard antimicrobial therapy, secondary prophylaxis, and good immunological and virological response to ART. Median CD4 nadir was 175.5 cells/mm 3 and median highest CD4 while symptomatic was 373 cells/mm 3 . Overall 34% of stool samples and 63% of duodenal biopsy specimens were positive for oocytes. Four patients died, two remain symptomatic and two recovered. Possible explanations for persistence of symptoms include host factors such as antigen specific immune deficiency or generalised reduction in gut immunity. Parasite factors may include accumulating resistance to co-trimoxazole. Research is required to determine the optimum dose and duration of co-trimoxazole therapy and whether dual therapy may be necessary. Mortality was high and pending more data we recommend extended treatment with high-dose co-trimoxazole in similar cases.