Diseases caused by Protozoa

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 09/10/2023

Almost everybody today is concerned about their health. From mindful eating to regular exercise, making a healthy routine is part of our day-to-day life. But do you know that there are microorganisms invisible to human eyes that can cause severe health issues?

No amount of healthy routine will save us from these microorganisms if we are unaware. As per the study, thousands of microorganisms exist in our surroundings that can quickly enter the human body and disturb the internal workings of the human body. One such microorganism is protozoa, which can infect our human body and raise severe health issues like organ failure, fever, vomiting, etc.

There are numerous harmful effects of Protozoa, and its treatment is necessary. However, diseases caused by protozoa can be spontaneous and derail our budgeting. In that case, having a secure medical insurance plan is necessary to protect your finances.

With health insurance by your side, fighting diseases caused by protozoa and their symptoms would be manageable. Let's understand in detail the different protozoa disease examples that affect the human body.

What is Protozoa?

Protozoans are free-living parasites that are unicellular, eukaryotic and heterotrophic. They are classified in a diverse group of 65,000 single-cell organisms. Since they are diverse and different, defining protozoan parasites takes work.

Almost every human host protozoan in their body at some point. Not every protozoan available in the environment is harmful, but some can lead to harmful diseases.

What are Diseases Caused by Protozoa?

Diseases caused by protozoan parasites are called protozoal diseases. These viruses can impact various organisms such as animals, plants, marine life and humans. The various diseases caused by Protozoa in humans are transmitted through mosquito bites or dirty water.

Some of the common protozoa-caused diseases are:

Human beings Malaria, amoebic dysentery, etc.

Plant diseases Wilt of oil Palm, Phloem necrosis, etc.

Animal diseases Babesiosis, Leishmaniasis, etc.

List of 10 Protozoan Diseases in Humans

Here is the list of 10 Protozoan Diseases in Humans.

Toxoplasmosis- It is the disease caused by the most widespread parasite of the protozoan family, known as the Toxoplasma gondii parasite.

This disease is usually caused in humans due to eating undercooked or raw meat. Further, it can also be caused by coming in contact with infected cat faeces. It can also be passed down from infected mother to child during pregnancy.

Cryptosporidiosis- Also known as crypto, this disease is caused by Cryptosporidium protozoa. It is a very minute germ found in soil, food, water, dirty surfaces, filthy hands, etc.

It can be passed down to humans easily. The Cryptosporidium protozoa is contagious and starts growing in human intestines. It is generally excreted through stool.

Malaria- One of the most widespread diseases caused by protozoa parasites is malaria. It is caused by 4 different species of organisms such as Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malaria, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum.

These parasites are only carried by female Anopheles mosquitoes. The mosquito bite by female Anopheles mosquitoes leads to malaria in humans. This illness needs incubation of 7 days.

Amoebic Dysentery- Another common disease caused by protozoa is Amoebic Dysentery. The Entamoeba histolytica parasite causes it.

This disease generally upsets the gut of human beings by causing diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal disease. This parasite in the human body can mix into the bloodstream, reach the liver and other organs, and create other health problems if not treated.

Giardia- Further, another common disease is Giardia caused by Giardia duodenalis. It is generally spread through infected animals and humans.

This virus is usually transmitted through water, food, faeces contact, poor hygiene, etc. It generally affects the small intestine and causes issues like foul-smelling stools, gas, fatigue, stomach cramps, etc.

Leishmaniasis- It is a parasite that occurs in tropical and subtropical regions.

The sickness caused due to this virus is known as tropical sickness, and it generally goes unnoticed. The virus responsible for this disease is Leishmania parasites, transmitted through the bite of phlebotomine sand flies.

Chagas disease- Another protozoan disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The disease is named after its researcher, Carlos Chagas.

In humans, this disease gets transmitted when they come in contact with triatomine bugs, aka kissing bugs. This disease didn't spread from person to person.

Babesiosis- It is caused by a parasite named Babesia microti. It generally affects the RBC of human beings.

This disease generally gets transmitted through contact with an infected tick, Ixodes scapularis. Many times, this disease doesn't exhibit any noticeable symptoms.

Blastocystosis- Another disease on our list is Blastocystosis, caused by Blastocystis hominis. It is a waterborne parasite.

The mode of transmission for this disease is still undetected. But it generally happens in areas with poor hygiene and sanitary conditions.

Trichomoniasis- Lastly, we have Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease. The Trichomoniasis vaginalis parasite causes it. It is generally transmitted during sexual intercourse.

Common Symptoms of Diseases Caused by Protozoa

Some of the common protozoan infection symptoms are:

  • Muscle pain

  • Fever

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss

  • Vomiting

  • Headache

These are just some common symptoms of disease caused by protozoa. Other than this, protozoa skin infection can turn skin yellow, cause rashes, etc.

In some cases, symptoms and signs are not noticeable, which can lead to major issues in future. Hence, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

Ways to Diagnose Protozoa Disease

These microorganisms or parasites are invisible to the naked eye, so diagnosing protozoa disease is very challenging. However, in case of symptoms, it is necessary to visit a doctor who conducts a test to identify the virus. Some of the specific tests designed to identify the Protozoa parasites are:

  • Blood tests

  • Antibody test

  • Colonoscopy

  • PCR test

  • Direct Isolation of a pathogen

  • Stool samples

  • Stains of tissue

Preventive Steps to Control Disease Caused by Protozoa

These parasites are more extensive and complex pathogens than any other bacteria and parasites. If they enter the host body, they can cause significant problems by affecting the immune system.

  • There are no particular vaccines yet developed for such protozoan disease. Hence, it is best to implement preventive measures to stop infection of diseases caused by Protozoa.

  • Some of the popular preventive measures to control the spread of protozoa parasites are:

  • It is best to avoid drinking water from ponds, rivers and streams.

  • Hygiene is important. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

  • Vegetables and fruits should be washed regularly before consumption.

  • Water should be filtered or boiled before consumption.

  • Use sanitiser in public restrooms and property after touching anything.

  • Refrain from consuming raw food; cook your meal correctly before consumption.

Treatment for Protozoa Disease

Proper treatment for protozoa disease is necessary since it can affect the human body's immune system. Treatment on time is necessary to stop the spread of disease. Whenever you notice any signs and symptoms, it is best to contact the doctor immediately. Treatment for protozoan varies depending on the infection type, and the length of treatment is usually long.

Since these diseases are spontaneous and can put a financial burden, a proper medical insurance plan to support treatment is usually the best decision. Further, health insurance plans will provide comprehensive coverage from pre-hospitalisation to post-hospitalisation expenses. However, before buying any insurance policy, it is best to compare health insurance plans.

Tata AIG provides individuals with a budget-friendly medical insurance plan based on their needs. With changing lifestyles and high medical care costs, we offer plans that fit everyone's lifestyle. Also, buying a health insurance plan with Tata AIG is a seamless task with zero paperwork.


That's all! Protozoan is a parasite that causes various diseases in human beings, such as malaria, Giardia, etc. Unsanitary conditions are the primary cause of parasitic diseases. These diseases usually happen in overpopulated areas with poor water quality.

However, these diseases can be prevented by following preventive measures, but treatment is necessary if infected. Health professionals prescribe various Antiprotozoals drugs to disrupt the parasite life cycle.


Is malaria a protozoan disease?

Malaria is a severe protozoan disease caused by parasites. The species responsible for malaria are Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malaria, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum.

Which protozoa parasite is responsible for Sleeping sickness?

Sleeping sickness, also known as African Trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei protozoa.

Is it possible for protozoan diseases to spread from the soil?

Yes, protozoan parasites found in the soil can affect human beings.

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