Amebiasis or Infection Amoeba

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Amebiasis or Infection Amoeba (Disease)


Amebiasis is the state of being infected with amebae, especially with the ameba Entamoeba histolytica. The term Entamoebiasis is occasionally is no more used.

Causes and Risk factors

Entamoeba histolytica can live in the large intestine (colon) without causing disease. Since amoebiasis is transmitted through contaminated food and water, it is often endemic in regions of the world with limited modern sanitation systems, including México, Central America, western South America, South Asia, and western and southern Africa. However, sometimes, it invades the colon wall, causing colitis, acute dysentery, or long-term (chronic) diarrhea. The infection can also spread through the blood to the liver and, rarely, to the lungs, brain, or other organs. Entamoeba histolytica is spread through food or water contaminated with stools.

Risk factors for severe amebiasis include: alcoholism, cancer, malnutrition, older or younger age, pregnancy, recent travel to a tropical region or use of corticosteroid medication to suppress the immune system. Most people with this infection do not have symptoms.

If symptoms occur, they are seen 7 to 10 days after being exposed to the parasite. Mild symptoms: abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, excessive gas, unintentional weight loss. Severe symptoms are: abdominal tenderness, bloody stools, fever and vomiting.

Travelers to countries where sanitary standards are low can reduce their chances of acquiring amebiasis by: drinking only water that has been bottled in sanitary conditions or boiled; eating only cooked or peeled vegetables or fruits; protecting food from fly contamination; washing hands after defecation and before preparing or eating food.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of infection. Usually, metronidazole is given by mouth for 10 days. ...

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