Balantidiosis is a disease manifested by diarrhoea and due to the ciliate Balantidium coli. Humans can contract it under poor hygienic conditions. The main source of infection is pigs, in which the ciliate is a common endocommensal.

Keywords: Balantidium coli; life cycle; host–parasite relationship; balantidiosis; treatment

Figure 1.

(a), (d) and (e) Permanent, stained preparations of Balantidium coli; (b) and (c) living ciliates. (a) An individual stained with haematoxylin; at the top, the oral groove, below it the macronucleus and at the bottom, one of the two contractile vacuoles; ×590. (b) A dividing individual, showing the constriction furrow; ×410.(c) A pair of conjugants adhering to each other by their oral areas; ×590. (d) A cyst with distinct cyst wall; ×330. (e) A section showing balantidia in an abscess in the intestine of guinea‐pig; bottom left, denuded muscular layer of the intestine; ×170. (b) to (e), unpublished photographs of Dr V. Zaman.



Iglezias SD (1980) Exarbacao de balantidiase e estrongiloidiase en paciente com penfigo, foliaceo sul Americano na vigiencia de corticoidoterapia. Revista de Hospedales e Clinicas de Faculdad Medica, Universidad Sao Paulo 35: 88–90.

Krascheninnikow S and Jeska EL (1961) Agar diffusion studies on the species specificity of Balantidium coli, B. caviae and B. wenrichi. Immunology 4: 282–288.

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Tempelis CH and Lysenko MG (1957) The production of hyaluronidase by Balantidium coli. Experimental Parasitology 6: 31–36.

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Zaman V (1993) Balantidium coli. In: Kreier JP and Baker JR (eds) Parasitic Protozoa, vol. 3, pp 43–63. New York: Academic Press.

Further Reading

Arean VH and Echevarria R (1971) Balantidiasis. In: Marcial Rojas RA (ed.) Pathology of Protozoal and Helminthic Diseases, pp. 234–253. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.

Levine ND (1985) Veterinary Protozoology. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.

Walzer PD and Healy RG (1982) Balantidiasis. In: Jacobs L (ed.) CRC Handbook Series in Zoonoses, vol. 1, pp. 15–24. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Westphal A (1939) Experimentelle Balantidiumifektionen beim Kaninchen, zugleich einige Beobachtungen über das Wirtsproblem beim Darmlumenparasitismus. Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde 11: 68–76.

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How to Cite close
Lom, Jiří(May 2001) Balantidiosis. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001946]