Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Alternative namesAmebic dysentery; Intestinal amebiasis
DefinitionAmebiasis is an infection of the intestine (bowel) caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica .
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Entamoeba histolytica can live in the large intestine (colon) without causing disease. However, sometimes, it invades the colon wall causing colitis , acute dysentery, or chronic diarrhea . The infection can also spread through the blood to the liver and rarely, to the lungs, brain or other organs.
This condition can occur anywhere in the world, but it is most common in tropical areas where crowded living conditions and poor sanitation exist. Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and India have significant health problems associated with this disease.
Transmission occurs through ingestion of cysts in fecally contaminated food or water, which is common where human excrement is used as fertilizer. It can also be spread person-to-person -- particularly via oral/anal contact. Cockroaches and house flies can also spread the cysts . There are an estimated 50 million cases worldwide of amebiasis with 40,000 to 50,000 deaths annually.
into the wall of the colon may occur in 8-10% of cases and to the liver in approximately 1%.
Signs and testsExamination of the abdomen may show liver enlargement and abdominal tenderness.
Oral antiparasitic medication is the standard treatment for amebiasis. The choice of drug depends on the severity of the infection.
When nausea or vomiting are present, intravenous therapy may be necessary until medications can be tolerated by mouth. Antidiarrheal medications are usually not prescribed and can make the condition worse.
After treatment, the stool should be rechecked to ensure that the infection has been cleared.
Expectations (prognosis)The outcome is likely to be good with treatment.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if persistent diarrhea occurs.
When traveling in tropical countries where poor sanitation exists, drink purified or boiled water and do not eat uncooked vegetables or unpeeled fruit. Public health measures include water purification, water chlorination, and sewage treatment programs.
Safer sex measures, such as the use of condoms and dental dams for oral/anal contact, may help prevent infection.
Update Date: 7/30/2002Christopher Parsons, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT