World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0003119184
Reproduction Date:

Title: Balantidiasis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cryptosporidium hominis, Zoonosis, Blastocystis, Protozoan infection, Stieda body
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Balantidium coli as seen in a wet mount of a stool specimen. The organism is surrounded by cilia.
Classification and external resources
Specialty Infectious disease
ICD-10 A07.0
ICD-9-CM 007.0
DiseasesDB 31216
eMedicine med/203
MeSH D001447

Balantidiasis is a protozoan infection caused by infection with Balantidium coli.[1]


Symptoms can be local due to involvement of the intestinal mucosa, or systemic in nature and include either diarrhea or constipation.


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 host, the pig, where it is asymptomatic. Contaminated water is the most common mechanism of transmission.[2]


Balantidiasis can be treated with tetracycline,[3] carbarsone, metronidazole, or diiodohydroxyquin.

History and epidemiology

The first study to generate Balantidiasis in humans was undertaken by Cassagrandi and Barnagallo in 1896.[4] However, this experiment was not successful in creating an infection and it was unclear whether Balantidium coli was the actual parasite used.[4] The first case of Balantidiasis in the Philippines, where it is the most common, was reported in 1904.[5][6] Currently, Balantidium coli is distributed worldwide but less than 1% of the human population is infected.[7][6] Pigs are a major reservoir of the parasite, and infection of humans occurs more frequently in areas where pigs comingle with people.[7] This includes places like the Philippines, as previously mentioned, but also includes countries such as Bolivia and Papua New Guinea.[7][8] But pigs are not the only animal where the parasite is found. In a Japanese study that analyzed the fecal samples in 56 mammalian species, Balantidium coli was found to be present not just in all the wild boars tested (with wild boars and pigs being considered the same species), it was also found in five species of non human primate: Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), White-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar), Squirrelmonkey (Saimiri sciurea), Sacred baboon (Comopithecus hamadryas), and Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata).[9] In other studies, Balantidium coli was also found in species from the orders Rodentia and Carnivora.[9]

A trophozoite of Balantidium coli


Balantidium coli exists in either of two developmental stages: transverse binary fission.[10]

In its cyst stage, the parasite takes on a smaller, more spherical shape, with a diameter of around 40 to 60 µm.[6] Unlike the trophozoite, whose surface is covered only with cilia, the cyst form has a tough wall made of one or more layers.[10] The cyst form also differs from the trophozoite form because it is non-motile and does not undergo reproduction.[10] Instead, the cyst is the form that the parasite takes when it causes infection.[10]

Disease diagnosis

The diagnosis of Balantidiasis can be an intricate process, partly because the related symptoms may or may not be present. However, the diagnosis of Balantidiasis can be considered when a patient has diarrhea combined with a probable history of current exposure to amebiasis through travel, contact with infected persons, or anal intercourse.[11] In addition, the diagnosis of Balantidiasis can be made by microscopic examination of stool or tissue samples.[12]


Preventative measures require effective personal and community hygiene. Some specific safeguards include the following:

  • Purification of drinking water.
  • Proper handling of food.
  • Careful disposal of human feces.
  • Monitoring the contacts of balantidiasis patients.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Larry S., and John Janovy Jr. Gerald D. Schmidt & Larry S. Roberts' Foundations of Parasitology. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c .Balantidium coliParasites and Health: Balantidiasis DPDx - Balantidiasis. 5 Dec. 2008. CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases. 16 May 2009 >.
  8. ^ Ramachandran, Ambili. "Epidemiology of Balantidiasis." The Parasite: Balantidium coli The Disease: Balantidiasis. 23 May 2003. Stanford University. 16 May 2009 .
  9. ^ a b Nakauchi, Kiyoshi. "The Prevalence of Balantidium coli Infection in Fifty-Six Mammalian Species." Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 61 (1999): 63-65.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Ramachandran, Ambili. "Morphology." The Parasite: Balantidium coli The Disease: Balantidiasis. 23 May 2003. Stanford University. 16 May 2009 .
  11. ^
  12. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.