“Amoebiasis is an infection caused by the microorganism Entamoeba hystolytica that is transmitted through contaminated food or water.”


What is Amoebiasis?

Amoebiasis is also known as amoebic dysentery. It is an intestinal illness caused by a parasite Entamoeba histolytica. This parasite lives in the intestines and produces eggs (cysts) which are passed out of the body in the stool. It results in diarrhoea and colitis.

Let us have a detailed look at the symptoms and causes of amoebiasis.

Also Read: Amoeba

Causes of Amoebiasis

Amebiasis is caused by the following ways:

  1. Amoebiasis occurs in people who live in areas with poor sanitary conditions.
  2. Stool from infected people may contaminate water or food.
  3. A person becomes infected with E. histolytica by swallowing cysts of the parasite. This can occur by eating food which has been prepared by an infected person who has poor personal hygiene, drinking contaminated water, eating food washed in contaminated water, or by oral-anal sexual contact with a person infected with E. histolytica.

Symptoms of Amoebiasis

An individual infected with the histolytica parasite may have mild or severe symptoms or no symptoms at all. Usually, about 1 in 10 people who are infected with the parasite becomes sick from the infection.

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhoea that may include blood or mucus with periods of constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Chills

Treatment of Amoebiasis

Consult the Medical Letter or Pediatric Red Book for specific drugs and dosages.

Only E. histolytica requires treatment, but since most laboratories do not perform the test to distinguish it from E. dispar, treatment is commonly given to all persons with cysts or trophozoites of E. histolytica/dispar complex.

Symptomatic amoebiasis should be treated with a systemically-active compound such as metronidazole, followed by a luminal amoebicide to eliminate any surviving organisms in the colon. Metronidazole is not recommended for use during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Asymptomatic carriers should be treated with a luminal amebicide in order to reduce the risk of transmission and protect the patient from symptomatic amebiasis.

Also Read: Infectious Diseases

To learn more about amoebiasis, its definition, causes, symptoms and treatment, keep visiting BYJU’S website.

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