Balantidiasis- a rare intestinal infection caused by the bacterium.

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Balantidiasis is a rare intestinal infection caused by the bacterium, balantidium coli, a single celled parasite (ciliate protozoan) that frequently infects pigs but on occasion (rarely) infects humans. It is an uncommon infection. Balantidiasis occurs most commonly in areas with poor sanitation and in settings where humans live in close contact with pigs, sheep, or goats.

Causes

Balantidiasis is a rare infectious disease caused by the single celled (protozoan) parasite Balantidium coli. This parasite may be passed directly to humans by contact with pig feces or indirectly by drinking contaminated water. Poor nutrition, a compromised immune system, or other illnesses may make a person vulnerable to more severe symptoms of this disease.

 

Diagnosis
Balantidiasis is diagnosed by microscopic examination of a patient’s feces. A stool sample is collected and a wet mount is prepared. Cysts or trophozoites can be detected in the feces. Balantidium coli is passed periodically, therefore stool samples should be collected frequently and examined immediately in order to make a definitive diagnosis.

 

Symptoms
Chronic diarrhea
Occasional dysentery (diarrhea with passage of blood or mucus)
Nausea Foul breath Colitis (inflammation of the colon)
Abdominal pain
Weight loss
Deep intestinal ulceration
Perforation of the intestine.

 

Prevention
Effective personal and community hygiene Proper food handling Protecting food from contamination by flies Cooking food correctly Washing one’s hands after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating Purification of drinking water.



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