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Coccidiosis in Humans: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis, Pathophysiology


The intestinal infection caused by Coccidia is known as coccidiosis.

Coccidiosis can occur in mammals such as cats, dogs and humans; certain birds; fish; reptiles; and amphibians. These parasites typically undergo sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction alternately.

Coccidiosis in Humans

Coccidiosis in humans is characterized by intestinal infection associated with severe diarrhea.

Isopora belli is a species of Isopora that infect the humans. It was first recorded by Dr. H. M Woodcock in 1915 while studied the faeces samples of World War I soldiers. This parasite is also responsible for a condition popularly known as “traveller’s diarrhea”. Humans are, usually also affected by the species Isopora hominis. These species are found in the intestinal tracts and are endemic in areas of Asia, Europe, Africa, southern Europe, Latin America and Oceania.

Coccidiosis is more common in immuno-compromised patients (such as renal transplant patients and AIDS patients) and also in malnourished children. Coccidiosis is a contagious disease and it affects the human being upon exposure to faeces of an infected animal, or upon ingestion of contaminated food and water.

The most common cause of coccidiosis in humans is as follows:

Poor hygiene and poor sanitary condition, unclean environment, ingestion of infected food and water, consumption of undercooked or uncooked meat, direct or indirect contact with infected stool samples, exposure to infected pets or livestock animals, frequent traveling, poor immunity, presence of underlying conditions such as history of kidney transplant and AIDS, sexual transmission through oral-anal sexual practice, particularly in homosexuals.

Symptoms of Coccidiosis in Humans

The characteristic feature of coccidiosis in humans is pronounced diarrhoea, which may alternate with constipation. The common symptoms of coccidiosis in humans include:

Diarrhea with extensive loss of fluid. The stool is usually non-bloody and may contain mucous, abdominal pain and cramps, weight loss, malabsorption, fever, headache, loss of appetite, weakness and occasional constipation.

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