Diagnosis of Balantidiasis


Balantidiasis is an uncommon infection.Symptoms, if present, include diarrhea, dysentery, and abdominal pain (See Clinical Presentation).Balantidiasis should be considered if the patient works closely with pigs or other livestock, lives in or has recently traveled to a region with poor water sanitation, or has had contact with infected persons.


Note: consult a physician if you suspect you have Balantidiasis.



Balantidiasis is diagnosed by microscopic examination of a patientís 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.





Trophozoites can also be detected in tissue.In order to collect a tissue specimen from the large intestine, a sigmoidoscopy procedure is used.A thin, hollow instrument called a sigmoidoscope is used to visually inspect the last sections of the large intestine: the rectum and the sigmoid colon.A physician can look for bleeding, ulcers, and inflammation in order to diagnose the cause of diarrhea and other GI complaints, and can take a tissue biopsy for inspection.



Since the symptoms of Balantidiasis are similar to those of amebiasis, it is important to identify the correct protozoan responsible for the disease.Microscopic examination of the stool or tissue sample and characterization of the organism according to Morphology are needed to make the correct diagnosis.As noted before, Balantidium coli is the largest protozoan and the only ciliate to parasitize humans.These traits can be of help when identifying organisms in samples from patients.




The Parasite


Life Cycle


Animal Reservoirs

Clinical Presentation





Public Health Interventions


Glossary of terms

References and links