Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

Atlas of Parasites Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Balantidium coli



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Distribution: Worldwide. 

Host: Because pigs are an animal reservoir, human infections occur more frequently in areas where pigs are raised.  Other potential animal reservoirs include rodents and nonhuman primates.

Life Cycle: Balantidium coli, a large ciliated protozoan parasite.Cysts are the parasite stage responsible for transmission of balantidiosis. The host most often acquires the cyst through ingestion of contaminated food or water.  Following ingestion, excystation occurs in the small intestine, and the trophozoites colonize the large intestine.  The trophozoites reside in the lumen of the large intestine of humans and animals, where they replicate by binary fission, during which conjugation may occur.  Trophozoites undergo encystation to produce infective cysts.  Some trophozoites invade the wall of the colon and multiply.  Some return to the lumen and disintegrate. 

Diagnosis: Mature cysts are passed with feces. Fecal examination of cysts.


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