Intestinal Balantidium: Life Cycle, Routes Of Infection, Prevention

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Intestinal Balantidium: Life Cycle, Routes Of Infection, Prevention
Intestinal Balantidium: Life Cycle, Routes Of Infection, Prevention

Video: Intestinal Balantidium: Life Cycle, Routes Of Infection, Prevention

Video: Intestinal Balantidium: Life Cycle, Routes Of Infection, Prevention
Video: Parasitology- Balantidiasis (Part 2) 2023, May

At the moment, scientists have studied over 5000 species of protozoa related to ciliates. One of them is intestinal balantidia, which parasitizes in the human colon and causes a disease such as balantidiasis.


  • 1 Structure and life cycle
  • 2 Methods of infection
  • 3 Symptoms of the disease
  • 4 Why the disease is dangerous
  • 5 How to treat balantidiasis

    • 5.1 Monomycin
    • 5.2 Oxytetracycline
    • 5.3 Metronidazole
  • 6 Preventive measures

Structure and life cycle

The largest representative of its kind is balantidium coli, which belongs to the intestinal protozoa. During the growing season, the microorganism can reach sizes of more than 70 microns, and the cyst is about 50 microns in diameter.

Infusoria balantidia of the ovoid form. There are large numbers of cilia on the surface, thanks to which the cell has the ability to move. In front of the body of the parasite there is a mouth opening, behind - an anal opening. From the inside, the simplest organism is filled with cytoplasm, digestive and pulsating vacuoles.

The first stage is the sexual process, characterized by the destruction of the large nucleus. The small nucleus goes through a stage of division, as a result of which a male and female micronucleus appears. The male cell is redirected to another ciliate, while the female remains. Through this process, ciliates exchange information at the genetic level.

After the completion of the division process, a cyst is formed, which is excreted along with the feces and ends up in the environment. The cyst is protected by several dense membranes. There are no cilia at this stage. The cyst remains in nature for about 60 days, when it enters the human body, it repeats its life cycle.

Infection methods

The main routes of infection with balantidia are through a natural host - a pig. A person can get the parasite in cystic form if it gets into the digestive system. Through the digestive tract, the parasite enters the stomach, and from there - into the small intestine. The large intestine is a place of reproduction, development of balantidia.


When these processes begin, a person develops symptoms similar to poisoning. This is due to an enzyme secreted by the parasite that partially damages the mucous membrane in the large intestine. Pathogenic microbes get into these damages.

The largest accumulation of ciliates is seen in places such as:

  • bowel bend,
  • the corner of the cecum;
  • sigma;
  • rectum.

The vital activity of balantidia is not complete without toxic secretions, which cause symptoms similar to general poisoning in a sick person.

Symptoms of the disease

It is not uncommon that from the moment the ciliates enter the human body, several months, or even years, pass before the first manifestations appear. The incubation period of the parasite lasts 14-30 days.


Due to the similarity of the signs of balantidiasis and poisoning, it is very difficult to determine the diagnosis - only a professional doctor can make it

Let us consider in more detail how the symptoms of balantidiasis manifest in the human body:

  • indigestion, the presence of bloody and mucous discharge in the feces. The sick person's stool may have a rotten smell;
  • the presence of pain in the abdominal cavity - it can prick very strongly (as with colic);
  • the temperature rises - it can stay around 40 °;
  • headaches;
  • weakness of the body;
  • the patient has a decreased appetite - a person may refuse to eat;
  • the stomach is swollen;
  • palpation of the liver and lower abdomen causes painful sensations;
  • the presence of dizziness.

There are three options for the development of the disease:

  • asymptomatic balantidiasis. A person is a carrier of ciliates and can infect others;
  • chronic form - proceeds with diarrhea and spasmodic pain in the abdominal region;
  • malignant form.

For most of the population, asymptomatic balantidiasis is characteristic - patients do not complain of manifestations of the disease.

Attention! With this form, there is a very high mortality rate in patients, if appropriate treatment is not provided

Why is the disease dangerous?

Balantidiasis is dangerous for people because the activity of the parasitic ciliate leads to possible internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. A large number of ulcers are formed and inflammatory processes begin. Open ulcers lead to secondary infections, in addition, the progress of ulcerative formations begins, which flows into a purulent lesion or peritonitis.


If you do not start timely treatment of the disease, this will lead to serious consequences for the gastrointestinal tract and may even be fatal for a person. Balantidia is also dangerous because allergic reactions can begin due to intoxication of the body: anaphylactic shock, laryngeal edema and asphyxia.

How to treat balantidiasis

Intestinal balantidia is treated with medications. The greatest effect was observed in antiparasitic drugs, which are taken in a course of five days several times. The use of Monomycin, Oxytetracycline, Metronidazole is recommended. The dosage is prescribed by the attending physician.

Let us consider in more detail the action of the above drugs.


Direct appointment - with the appearance of purulent-inflammatory processes, for example, with peritonitis, which can develop with a severe form of balantidiasis. The drug has a wide spectrum of action against microbes.


If taken orally, the drug is poorly absorbed. The greatest efficiency is observed with intramuscular injection. In this case, the drug is well absorbed into the circulatory system, quickly reaches organs and tissues. The drug is excreted by the kidneys.


Monomycin should not be used by people with disrupted tissue structures, with inflammation of the auditory nerves. Very carefully the medicine is prescribed to people who have allergies.

Side effects

The functionality of the kidneys is impaired, there may be a disorder of the digestive system. Tinnitus appears, speech perception becomes difficult.


The drug has a broad-spectrum antimicrobial effect. The tool successfully fights various bacteria and viruses.



Cannot be used by people with individual intolerance to the constituent components of the drug, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, children under ten years of age. The drug is carefully prescribed to elderly people and patients who have problems with the liver or kidneys.

Side effects

When taking the medicine, the following side factors can be observed: diarrhea appears, a person may feel sick, Quincke's edema may develop, anemia occurs, rashes appear on the skin, itching and burning sensations.


Refers to antibiotics, suitable for the treatment of a very large number of diseases caused by infectious bacteria.

The drug has a high penetrating power, which allows it to reach all internal organs.

Side effects

This medicine has many side effects. Let's list the most basic ones: headache, sleep disorder, development of seizures, visual deceptions occur.


You can not use the drug during pregnancy, during breastfeeding, with individual intolerance to the components of the drug.

Most cases of balantidiasis do without surgery. Balantidiae can affect other internal organs except the gastrointestinal tract only in rare cases.

If treatment is started in a timely manner and medicines are applied correctly, then the patients will recover. Without treatment, death can occur, especially if an acute form of the disease is observed

Preventive measures

To prevent disease, it is important to observe hygiene measures when keeping pigs, to timely identify and treat people infected with balantidiasis.

Strictly follow standard prevention methods:

    • use only clean water for drinking and everyday life;
    • comply with sanitary and hygienic standards;
  • in no case contact with pigs through which infection occurs;
  • wash hands thoroughly after visiting public places, before eating;
  • wash vegetables and fruits before use.

By observing such simple rules, you can avoid invasion.

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