Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurosurg Spine. 2013 Mar;18(3):310-3. doi: 10.3171/2012.11.SPINE12519. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Balantidium coli: an unrecognized cause of vertebral osteomyelitis and myelopathy.

Author information

Histopathology Division, Department of Pathology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India.


Balantidium coli is a ciliated protozoan parasite that primarily infects primates and pigs. It is the largest protozoan to infect humans and is a well-known cause of diarrhea and dysentery. Extraintestinal disease is uncommon, and extraintestinal spread to the peritoneal cavity, appendix, genitourinary tract, and lung has rarely been reported. The authors describe a case of vertebral osteomyelitis with secondary cervical cord compression caused by B. coli. The patient was a 60-year-old immunocompetent man presenting with quadriplegia of short duration. Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spine showed extradural and prevertebral abscess at the C3-4 level. Drainage of the abscess, C3-4 discectomy, and iliac bone grafting were performed. Histologically B. coli was confirmed in an abscess sample. To the best of the authors' knowledge, involvement of bone by B. coli has never been reported, and this case is the first documented instance of cervical cord compression due to B. coli osteomyelitis of the spine in the literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center