Intestinal parasites are a common problem around the world. The principal intestinal protozoan parasites in the U.S. are Giardia and Cryptosporidium. In developing countries, these parasites and others, including Entamoeba histolytica, are major healthcare problems.
Parasitic infections can cause debilitating or deadly intestinal infections.
Using sensitive and specific diagnostic tests also helps to prevent overuse of antibiotics, which is one of the factors responsible for the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.