Animal Reservoir of Balantidium Coli



Pigs are commonly infected and are the most significant animal reservoirs.  Prevalence in pigs has been reported from 20% to 100%.  Pigs typically do not show signs of infection (i.e. they are asymptomatic carriers); indeed, Balantidium coli is believed to live commensally in the large intestines of swine.  However, infected pigs still shed vast volumes of Balantidium coli in their feces.






Although Balantidium coli infection of humans is rare, it is most likely to occur in places where humans and pigs live in close contact.  Swine feces containing infective Balantidium coli cysts enter water sources, and, without water sanitation, cysts are consumed with the contaminated water.  Humans who work with pigs and do not wash their hands with clean water are also vulnerable to infection from the animal reservoir. (See Transmission)


Infection has also been observed in non-human primates, and rodents have been experimentally infected.





The Parasite


Life Cycle


Animal Reservoirs

Clinical Presentation





Public Health Interventions


Glossary of terms

References and links