Category Archives: Balantidium coli disease

Balantidium coli disease

By | 01.02.2021

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Balantidium Coli

Ponce-Gordo, F. Balantidium coli. In: J. Rose and B. Fayer and W. Acknowledgements: K. To date, Balantidium coli is the only ciliate protozoan reported to infect the gastrointestinal track of humans. The parasite can infect a wide range of mammals, pigs being the main reservoir. The organism has also been found in some birds. In most cases, B. Transmission from one infected individual to others is by a fecal-oral route in which contaminated drinking water or food are the main modes of transmission.

Close contact with pigs and poor condition of the water sources are the main risk factors associated with the infection by the parasite. Control measures includes the identification gcam mate 20 lite treatment of infected people, the safe disposal of excreta both of human and animal originavoiding the use of night soil as fertilizer for vegetables to be consumed raw, and the improvement in the quality of the water sources.

There have not been any specific studies about B. The protozoan ciliates of the genus Balantidium are transmitted by a fecal-oral route in which cysts are the infective stage. Balantidium cysts can be present in temperate and tropical surface waters worldwide. Among the species in this genus, there is only one infecting humans, Balantidium coliand no subspecies, serotypes, or genetically diverse types have been named to date.

The main reservoir of this species is swine. Human infections are related worldwide in relation to low sanitation or to contamination of drinking water sources with human and animal especially swine feces. Most infections are asymptomatic, but the organism could in some cases produce a severe infection and even the death of the host, usually associated with other concurrent illness.

Waterborne transmission has been documented in some cases. In humans, the overall prevalence is estimated to be 0. It is possible that these numbers are an underestimation of the real situation as the parasite is considered usually asymptomatic and most reports and statistics are based on data from symptomatic or compromised patients Cooper and Guderian, ; McCarey, ; Nuti et al. It remains undetermined whether B. Trophozoites inhabit the intestine, feeding on bacteria and other intestinal contents.

In most cases, infections are asymptomatic and the infected host shows no clinical signs, suggesting that this ciliate is an opportunistic parasite that could take advantage of the weakened status of the host caused by other infections, lesions, or diseases. In such cases, the parasite could invade the intestinal wall causing the disease known as balantidiasis or balantidial dysentery.

Balantidium coli-football motility

In most of the human patients with extraintestinal balantidiasis, a concurrent intestinal infection was usually not diagnosed Anargyrou et al. Anargyrou et al. In the last few years, several cases have described the presence of B. The economic importance of balantidiasis is not well determined.

In different studies it has been suggested that B. There are no data regarding the economic status of balantidiasis in humans. Balantidium colithe first intestinal protozoan formally identified in humans, is the largest protozoan inhabiting the human intestine and the only ciliate known to infect humans.Balantidium coli parasites can be transmitted through the fecal-oral route by contaminated food and water. Balantidium coli infects humans occasionally, mostly immunocompromised patients.

Some infected people may have no symptoms or only mild diarrhea and abdominal discomfort but others may experience more severe symptoms reminiscent of an acute inflammation of the intestines. People with other serious illnesses can experience persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes a perforated colon. Symptoms of Balantidiasis may be similar to those of other infections that cause intestinal inflammation, for example, amoebic dysentery. On very rare occasions Balantidium coli may invade extra-intestinal organs, that include liver, lungs and genitourinary tract 1.

Genitourinary sites of infection, including uterine infection, vaginitis and cystitis are thought to occur via direct spread from the anal area or secondary to rectovaginal fistula created from infection with Balantidium coli 2. The three medications often used to treat Balantidium coli are tetracycline, metronidazole, and iodoquinol.

balantidium coli disease

See your health care provider for treatment. Risk factors for balantidiasis include contact with pigs, handling fertilizer contaminated with pig excrement, and living in areas where the water supply may be contaminated by the excrement of infected animals.

Poor nutrition, achlorhydria, alcoholism, and immunosuppression may also be contributing factors. Balantidium coli, a large ciliated protozoan, is the only ciliated protozoan known to be capable of infecting humans 3. Balantidium coli is often associated with pigs, the primary reservoir host.

Recent molecular analyses have suggested the need for taxonomic revision, and it is now sometimes referred to as Neobalantidium coli or Balantioides coli, although this nomenclature has neither been resolved nor widely adopted in the medical community.

Balantidium coli inhabits the large intestine of humans, pigs and monkeys. The parasite exists in two stages; trophozoite stage found in dysenteric stool and encysted stage found in chronic cases and carriers.

Pig is the natural host and man is an accidental host. Cyst is the infective stage of the parasite and the route of transmission is feco-oral. The pig serves as the usual source of infection. Transmission occurs through the ingestion of food or water contaminated by cysts obtained from the feces of a pig or man. The infection is found world-wide. Cysts are the stage responsible for transmission of balantidiasis number 1. The host most often acquires the cyst through ingestion of contaminated food or water number 2.

Following ingestion, excystation occurs in the small intestine, and the trophozoites colonize the large intestine number 3. The trophozoites reside in the lumen of the large intestine and appendix of humans and animals, where they replicate by binary fission, during which conjugation may occur number 4. Trophozoites undergo encystation to produce infective cysts number 5. Some trophozoites invade the wall of the colon and multiply, causing ulcerative pathology in the colon wall.Balantidium coli is the largest protozoan parasite in humans and causes a disease called balantidiasis.

It belongs to the ciliophora phylum and is the only protozoan ciliate to infect humans. It goes through two development phases; a cyst and a trophozoite.

Trophozoites are 0. Their shape is either spherical or oblong. Their surface is covered with cilia and are able to move around. Trophozoites have both a micronucleus and a macronucleus, which both are normally visible. The macronucleus is bigger and sausage-shaped whereas the micronucleus is less notable.

Cysts are spherical and 0. They have a tough multilayered shell which protects them against stomach acid of the host, when ingested. They are usually destroyed at a pH lower than five normal pH of a healthy stomach is about three. Some people are weakened by other diseases and thus the cysts are not killed. Unlike trophozoites, cysts cannot reproduce and do not have any cilia for moving.

The life cycle of Balantidium coli begins, when a human eats food or water that has been contaminated with infective cysts. If the cysts survive through the stomach, trophozoites are formed in the small intestine. Trophozoites live in the cecum and the colon of the large intestine.

They live and feed in the lumen but sometimes penetrate the mucosa. They multiply by transverse binary fission in the intestinal wall. Some trophozoites return to the lumen and encyst transform into cysts once the feces dry up.

The cysts are formed either in the large intestine or outside of the body. If the feces get in contact with vegetables or drinking water, humans might ingest the cysts. Most infections occur in developing countries where feces are more likely to get in contact with food and drinking water. In addition to humans, pigs and other animals carry the disease. People who raise pigs have bigger risk of getting infected with balantidiasis. Balantidiasis is often asymptomatic. But in some cases the patient might have diarrheaweight loss and dysentery.

Untreated dysentery cases can be fatal. Diagnosis can be made by finding trophozoites from a stool or tissue sample collected during endoscopy. Cysts are rarely found. Trophozoites are passed irregularly and quickly destroyed outside the colon. For this reason many stool samples are usually required to confirm the disease. Balantidiasis is treated with tetracycline according to the instructions of your health care provider. Tetracycline is not recommended for pregnant women or children under 8 years old.

balantidium coli disease

If the drug is not available, then iodoquinol and metronidazole can be used. Balantidiasis infections can be prevented by following proper hygiene practices. Do not use human feces as fertilizer in agriculture.These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms.

The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional. Questions sent to GARD may be posted here if the information could be helpful to others.

We remove all identifying information when posting a question to protect your privacy. If you do not want your question posted, please let us know. National Institutes of Health. COVID is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Menu Search Home Diseases Balantidiasis. You can help advance rare disease research!

Title Other Names:. Human balantidiasis; Balantidiosis; Large-intestinal infection with Balantidium coli; Human balantidiasis; Balantidiosis; Large-intestinal infection with Balantidium coli; Balantidium coli infection; B coli infection See More. Bacterial infections ; Parasitic diseases.

Summary Summary. The following summary is from Orphaneta European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Balantidiasis is an infectious diseaserare in western countries. It is caused by Balantidium colia single celled parasite ciliate protozoan that is usually associated with intestinal infection in areas associated with pig rearing. It infects humans occasionally, mostly immunocompromised patients. Some infected people may have no symptoms or only mild diarrhea and abdominal discomfort but others may experience more severe symptoms reminiscent of an acute inflammation of the intestines.

Symptoms of Balantidiasis may be similar to those of other infections that cause intestinal inflammation, for example, amoebic dysentery.

Parasites - Balantidiasis (also known as Balantidium coli Infection)

On very rare occasions this bacterium may invade extra-intestinal organsmostly the lungs. Metronidazole is the treatment of choice. Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.

Learn More Learn More. The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States. In-Depth Information Medscape Reference provides information on this topic.

You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free. The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers.

This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition. Access to this database is free of charge. PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Balantidiasis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Do you have updated information on this disease? We want to hear from you. Have a question? Share this content:.Balantidium coli is a parasitic species of ciliate alveolates that causes the disease balantidiasis. Balantidium coli has two developmental stages, a trophozoite stage and a cyst stage. In trophozoites, the two nuclei are visible. The macronucleus is long and sausage-shaped, and the spherical micronucleus is nested next to it, often hidden by the macronucleus.

The opening, known as the peristomeat the pointed anterior end leads to the cytostome, or the mouth.

Balantidium coli Infection FAQs

Cysts are smaller than trophozoites and are round and have a tough, heavy cyst wall made of one or two layers. Usually only the macronucleus and sometimes cilia and contractile vacuoles are visible in the cyst.

balantidium coli disease

Living trophozoites and cysts are yellowish or greenish in color. Balantidium is the only ciliated protozoan known to infect humans. Balantidiasis is a zoonotic disease and is acquired by humans via the feco-oral route from the normal hostthe domestic pigwhere it is asymptomatic.

Contaminated water is the most common mechanism of transmission. Balantidium coli lives in the cecum and colon of humans, pigs, rats, and other mammals. It is not readily transmissible from one species of host to another because it requires a period of time to adjust to the symbiotic flora of the new host.

Once it has adapted to a host species, the protozoan can become a serious pathogen, especially in humans. Trophozoites multiply and encyst due to the dehydration of feces. Infection occurs when the cysts are ingested, usually through contaminated food or water.

It can thrive in the gastrointestinal tract as long as there is a balance between the protozoan and the host without causing dysenteric symptoms.


Infection most likely occurs in people with malnutrition due to the low stomach acidity or people with compromised immune systems. In acute disease, explosive diarrhea may occur as often as every twenty minutes. Perforation of the colon may also occur in acute infections which can lead to life-threatening situations. Infection occurs when a host ingests a cyst, which usually happens during the consumption of contaminated water or food.

Balantidiasis in humans is common in the Philippinesbut it can be found anywhere in the world, especially among those that are in close contact with swine. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Scientific classification Domain: Eukaryota. Stanford University. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. Foundations of Parasitology 8th ed. Eukaryota : SAR : Alveolata. Acavomonadida Acavomonas. Mesodiniea MesodiniumMyrionecta.Balantidiasis: Intestinal infection with a parasitic protozoa Balantidium coli resulting in intestinal inflammation.

It is usually transmitted through direct or indirect contact with pig fecal matter. More detailed information about the symptomscausesand treatments of Balantidiasis is available below.

Asymptomatic Fever Nausea Vomiting Abdominal pain more symptoms Read more about Deaths and Balantidiasis. Balantidiasis: Complications Review possible medical complications related to Balantidiasis: Perforation of ulcer Peritonitis more complications Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Balantidiasis: Protozoan infection Balnatidium coli Diarrhea Constipation Tetracycline more related diseases The best known, The digestive system contains a variety of The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the In fact, it's more likely to be an infectious Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcercolon cancerirritable bowel syndrome Read about other experiences, ask a question about Balantidiasis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards: I can not get a diagnosis.

Please help. Tell us your medical story. Share your misdiagnosis story. What is the best treatment for this? See all the forums. This means that Balantidiasis, or a subtype of Balantidiasis, affects less thanpeople in the US population.

Ophanet, a consortium of European partners, currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2, They list Balantidiasis as a " rare disease ". Source - Orphanet. What is the best treatment for my condition? See all the Boards. By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs.

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balantidium coli disease

See what questions a doctor would ask. Next: Symptoms of Balantidiasis. Click to Check. Appendicitis - Pediatric Peptic Ulcer. Contents for Balantidiasis: Balantidiasis What is Balantidiasis? Related Balantidiasis Info Videos about Balantidiasis.Images: Left: Balantidium coli cyst.

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Balantidium coli, though rare in the US, is an intestinal protozoan parasite that can infect humans. These parasites can be transmitted through the fecal-oral route by contaminated food and water. Balantidium coli infection is mostly asymptomatic, but people with other serious illnesses can experience persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes a perforated colon.

When traveling to endemic tropical countries, Balantidium coli infection can be prevented by following good hygiene practices. Wash all fruits and vegetables with clean water when preparing or eating them, even if they have a removable skin. To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address: Email Address. What's this? Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website. Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.

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