Question of agent of camel balantidiosis solved: Molecular identity, taxonomic solution and epidemiological considerations

Lorena Esteban-Sánchez, Mariana Panayotova-Pencheva, Moneeb Qablan, David Modrý, Lada Hofmannová, F. Ponce-Gordo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Domestic camels (Camelus bactrianus, the Bactrian camel; and Camelus dromedarius, the dromedary) are pseudo-ruminant herbivores kept as livestock in rural, inhospitable regions (cold deserts and dry steppes of Asia, arid to semi-arid regions of Africa, western and central Asia). Their close contact with humans makes them a potential reservoir for zoonotic parasite infections, as has been suggested for human balantidiasis. However, there is confusion about the ciliate species that infects camels: Infundibulorium cameli was originally described in dromedaries, but this name has almost never been used and most authors identified their findings as Balantioides coli and, to a lesser extent, Buxtonella sulcata, a cattle ciliate. To clarify the taxonomic status of the parasite and the corresponding zoonotic significance for camels, we performed morphological characterization of cysts and genetic analysis (SSU-rDNA and ITS markers) of B. coli-like isolates from Bactrian camels from Bulgaria and from dromedaries from Spain and the United Arab Emirates. Our results indicate that the camel ciliate is not B. coli, nor is it B. sulcata, but is a different species that should be placed in the same genus as the latter. Thus, camels are not a reservoir for human balantidiasis. Although the correct genus name would be Infundibulorium according to the principle of priority, this would lead to confusion since this name has almost fallen into disuse since its initial description, but Buxtonella is almost universally used by researchers and veterinarians for the cattle ciliate. We therefore propose to apply the reversal of precedence and use Buxtonella as the valid genus name. Consequently, we propose Buxtonella cameli n.comb. as the name for the camel ciliate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109984
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Balantioides
  • Buxtonella
  • Domesticated camels
  • Infundibulorium
  • Taxonomy
  • Zoonotic importance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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