Protozoa: Diseases Caused by Protozoa


Protozoa is a microscopic acellular animalcules existing singly or in colonies, without tissue and organs, having one or more nuclei.


Characteristics of Protozoa

  • They are small, usually microscopic, can not be seen without a microscope.
  • The body is unicellular (without tissue and organs).
  • There are about 50,000 known species of Phylum Protozoa.
  • They are the simplest and primitive of all animals.
  • Body symmetry either bilateral or radial or spherical.

Diseases Caused by Protozoa

Malaria (Plasmodium falciparum):

Incubation Period: About 3 weeks

Mode of Transmission: Female Anopheles
mosquito acts as a carrier.

  • Cold stage characterized by sudden onset of fever
  • During the hot stage, the body temperature may rise to 41°C or 106°F.
  • Sweating stage characterized by profuse sweating and lowering of body temperature
Preventive Measures
  • Population of mosquitoes should be
    reduced or eliminated
  • Mosquito bites should be prevented by
    using mosquito nets, applying mosquito
    repellents to the body
  • Water boiled with leaves and inflorescence of neem should be used for drinking

Amoebic dysentery or Amoebiasis

Incubation Period: About 1 week

Mode of Transmission: Food and water
contaminated by flies, faeces of an infected person

  • Diarrhoea or watery motions, containing mucus or blood and pain in the abdomen
  • Intestinal lining is destructed completely
  • Constipation alternating with diarrhoea
  • Stomach convulsion
Preventive Measures
  • Food should be kept covered properly to avoid contamination by flies and dust
    carrying cysts
  • Avoid eating spicy and fried food
  • Population of flies should be controlled or eliminated
  • Clean, boiled and cooled water should be used for drinking

Sleeping sickness

Incubation Period: From 3 days to 3 weeks

Mode of Transmission: Bite of Tsetse fly

  • Swollen, red, painful nodule at the site of the fly bite
  • Fever, headache, itchiness and joint pain in the first phase
  • Mood changes and anxiety
  • Insomnia at night
Preventive Measures
  • Insect control measures can help prevent the spread of sleeping sickness
  • Administration of drugs such as melarsoprol, pentamidine, suramin

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