Blastocystis spp. are unicellular parasites that infect the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. Their occurrence in the environment had been detected in water sources, thus causing contamination. The presence of the parasites in humans, animals and environmental sources in Asia were reviewed according to countries in Asia, different categories of human and animal populations, and environmental sources including water samples, food and ambient air. The coexistence of the parasites poses a public health concern as the parasites are commonly found in most studies. Hence, there is a growing interest in the study of Blastocystis spp. Due to the isolation of Blastocystis spp. from living and non-living sources, a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach known as One Health is proposed for future study of Blastocystis spp. in order to achieve optimal health outcomes through the recognition of interconnection between people, animals and their shared environment.
Blastocystis spp. are controversial unicellular protists that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract of humans and a wide range of animals worldwide. This review provides an overview of the prevalence and distribution of Blastocystis spp. and their subtypes throughout Asia. Research articles reporting on the presence of Blastocystis spp. in locations within Asia, between 1 January 2010, and 10 May 2021, were obtained from Scopus, PubMed, and Google Scholar. In 427 articles, the prevalence of Blastocystis spp. in 31 countries within the last decade was revealed. Isolates were found in humans, various mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, water sources, vegetables, and ambient air. Prevalence of Blastocystis spp. varied widely across host categories. Subtypes identified throughout Asia were STs 1–14, and ST18–22 (novel subtypes). ST1, ST2, ST3, ST4 were the most frequently isolated in humans; ST5 in pigs; ST10 and ST14 in goats, sheep, and cattle; and ST6 and ST7 in chickens. ST1 and ST3 were most common in water samples. ST1, ST2, ST3, ST4, ST5 and ST6 were shared by humans, animals, and water sources. There is a growing interest in the study of Blastocystis spp. and their subtypes in Asia. Due to the isolation of Blastocystis spp. from biotic and abiotic sources in Asia, the application of the One Health (OH) approach to the study of Blastocystis spp. is proposed for improved perception of this organism.