What is Balantidiasis?

Balantidiasis is an infectious disease caused by the protozoan Balantidium coli. The infection is primarily seen in developing countries and is spread by the intake of contaminated food or water. Balantidiasis may manifest as an asymptomatic infection in immunocompetent individuals but can lead to severe symptoms and complications if left untreated in immunocompromised individuals.

Symptoms of Balantidiasis

The most common symptoms of Balantidiasis are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal distention
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Malabsorption/malnutrition

Treatment of Balantidiasis

Treatment for Balantidiasis is typically administered using antibiotics. The antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat Balantidiasis include metronidazole, tinidazole, ornidazole, nitazoxanide, and iodoquinol. As the disease may result in severe complications, if left untreated, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Prevention of Balantidiasis

The transmission of Balantidiasis is primarily through diet, so to prevent the infection it is important to maintain proper hygiene and food safety. Be sure to:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
  • Cook meat to the recommended temperature.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked foods.
  • Drink only water that has been boiled or sterilized.
  • Avoid contact with individuals who are infected.