Causes & Symptoms: Balantidiasis spreads through ingestion of infective cysts of B. coli, present in contaminated water or food. Several factors that increase the risk for developing balantidiasis may include the following: Close contact with pigs.Most people infected with Balantidium coli experience no symptoms. Balantidium coli infects the large intestine in humans and produces infective microscopic cysts that are passed in the feces, potentially leading to re-infection or infection of others. People who are immune-compromised are the most likely to experience more severe signs and symptoms.
Treatment: Balantidium coli infection can be treated effectively with antibiotics. Three drugs are commonly used and administered orally. They are listed below in order of recommendation. (1) Tetracyclines 500 mg four times daily for 10 days (Contraindicated in pregnant women and children younger than 8 years of age) (2) Metronidazole 750 mg three times daily for 5 days (3) Iodoquinol 640 mg three times daily for 20 days these drugs are approved by the FDA but are considered investigational for the treatment of Balantidiasis.
Statistics: B. coli infection is uncommon in humans despite its potential for worldwide distribution. The organism, though pathogenic, is of low virulence. The worldwide prevalence is estimated at 0.02 to 1%, but it varies widely by geographic location. Pearson’s χ2 and Fisher’s exact tests were used to explore the relationships between each of the categorical variables investigated in the present study and the relative frequency of each Giardia genotype.