There are many kinds of infections that happen to human beings. People infected with different infections, react differently to diseases and symptoms caused by it. Some infections are common and affect people on a regular basis, whereas some infections can be very severe that can lead to death as well. Protozoan infections are one of types of infections that occur in humans because of various reasons. It can cause sleeping sickness, amoebic dysentery and malaria. Protozoa of different kinds also cause other diseases. Let us know about protozoan infection and the illness it causes in detail.
What is Protozoan Infection?
We asked Dr. Sumeet Nigam, General Physician in Sahara Hospital to know about protozoan infection. He told that protozoa are single celled organism that are categorised as eukaryotes. Because such small size, they are present almost everywhere including soil, on animal skin, crops, plants and it can even be present in water if contaminated. They are free living organisms, hence can be present at cysts which let them survive in dry period. Some protozoa are parasites that are generally responsible for infecting humans.
Types of Protozoa
Protozoa can also be classified into other classes depending on their characteristics. Here are division based on classification-
- Sporozoa- These are basically intracellular parasites
- Flagellates- This parasite has a long tail and has linear structure with flap around it which helps it to move.
- Amoeba- You must be familiar with this one; it is a temporary cell body which acts like projections called pseudopods
- Ciliates- These are hair like structures and move by beating up on one another, also called cilia.
How Are Protozoan Infections Caused?
In majority of cases, protozoan infection is caused because of cysts formation. Cysts actually spread through sexual transmission, insect vectors, etc that occurs because of ingestion of protozoa in cysts. There are many common and some not so common infections that are caused by protozoa. Some of these infections can cause illness in millions of people each year. One example for this is malaria. However some rare infections caused by protozoa are also disappearing from the world.
Illness Caused by Protozoan Diseases
Here are some common diseases that are caused by protozoa that infection many people all around the world-
1. Malaria- This infection is caused by a mosquito bite that carries this protozoan infection. It is a parasitic infection that could cause serious illness in people. It occurs mostly during monsoon season and is widely common in tropical and subtropical countries. It causes high fever and shaking chills that disrupt the body.
2. Giardiasis- it is caused in small intestine of the person because of a parasite called giardia. It spreads through coming in contact with the infected person. You can also get this disease because of having contaminated drink or water. Parasite infection can also spread through pet dogs.
3. Toxoplasmosis- It is a disease that is caused by coming in contact with gondii parasite. This is one of the most found parasite and caused infection to various people. This infection can occur by eating undercooked or contaminated meat, exposure to cat faeces or from mother to children during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis can be a serious infection that needs to be treated soon. It can cause infection in brain, eyes, and lymph nodes.
4. Sleeping Sickness- This is comparatively a less occurring disease. It is caused by trypainosoma brucei gambiense and trypanosome brucei rhodesiense. Both of these conditions are spread through tsetse fly bites. The first one occurs in most cases to patients.
5. Amoebic Dysentery- This is a protozoan infection that causes diarrhoea and GI upset. It can also go through the walls of intestines because of which it can enter bloodstream of the person and other organs. It is important to get rid of this disease as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Treatment of Protozoan Infection
Protozoan infection can be treated by various methods. Most of the infections caused by Protozoa can be treated with help of medication. Malaria can be treated with easy treatment process which involves medicines and rest. Rest of the infections can also be treated by drugs, diet and some aids given by doctor to treat that condition. As the infection spreads, the chance of severity increases.