Entamoeba histolytica (amoeba infection)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Entamoeba histolytica (amoeba infection) (Disease)


Entamoeba histolytica is an anaerobic parasitic protozoan, part of the genus Entamoeba. Predominantly infecting humans and other primates, E. histolytica is estimated to infect about 50 million people worldwide. Previously, it was thought that 10% of the world population was infected, but these figures predate the recognition that at least 90% of these infections were due to a second species, E. dispar. Mammals such as dogs and cats can become infected transiently, but are not thought to contribute significantly to transmission.

An infection by the parasite, Entamoeba histolytica, can cause inflammation of the intestine. A person with extraintestinal amebiasis has infection by this parasite in tissues outside the intestines. The liver is the most common location for the infection. Most cases are treated successfully with antibiotics.

Amoebiasis most commonly affects young to middle-aged adults.

Symptoms of liver infection from extraintestinal amebiasis include right upper abdominal pain, fever, chills, jaundice, loss of appetite, fatigue, excessive sweating, and weight loss. Symptoms of lung and chest infection from extraintestinal amebiasis include productive cough, chest pain, chest congestion, and difficulty breathing.

Causes and Risk factors

Transmission occurs by ingesting cysts in contaminated food or water, or by person-to-person contact. Amoebiasis, a type of gastro, is a cause of diarrhoea among travellers to developing countries. It is caused by a parasite known as Entamoeba histolytica that infects the bowel.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for extraintestinal amebiasis includes pain medications, medications to control nausea, antibiotics, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever control. Surgery may be required to treat a liver abscess. ...

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