Amoebiasis: Everything You Need to Know About It

Simply put, amoebiasis is an infection of the intestines that is brought about by a parasite called Entamoeba histolytica or E. histolytica. A lot of people who are suffering from it do not feel anything at all because of the absence of signs and symptoms. But then others may experience a number of digestive problems.

Read on to know more about amoebiasis, a deadly parasitic infection but can be treated effectively. Afterwards, share this article to let everyone you care about learn some of the most important matters about it, too.

Cause of the Infection

Inactive form of the parasite E. histolytica can enter the human body in the form of cysts, which are inactive forms of them that enable them to survive for several months outside of their hosts. Microscopic in size, these cysts can be present in soil, water and others that are infected by feces that are contaminated.

Food handlers may pass these cysts from person to person while they are preparing or serving food. It is possible, too, for those cysts to be transmitted during sex, in particular the anal or anal-oral kind. Doctors say that the medical procedure called colonic irrigation may also cause transmission.

People at Risk

Amoebiasis can occur on just about any part of the planet, although it is more common in tropical countries, especially where sanitation is underdeveloped. It is said to be common in various parts of Asia, Africa, and South and Central America. It rarely strikes in US, but there are also cases of amoebiasis in it as well.

Experts say that individuals who travel to places where there are cases of amoebiasis are at high risk of developing it. The same is true for those who are living where there is poor sanitation, such as jails or prisons.

It is said that men who have sexual intercourse with other men are also at high risk, too. Individuals who have weakened or compromised immune systems (or other health conditions that can cause their resistance to infections to fail) are at risk as well because their bodies are not able to fight off invading E. histolytica.

Signs and Symptoms

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, some cases of amoebiasis involve no symptom. But there are also instances in which a person who is suffering from it encounters a number of symptoms, particularly digestive system-related ones.

Actually, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention or CDC say that only about 10 or 20 percent of all people who have amoebiasis become ill. The rest do not feel anything at all. Symptoms, if they do appear, such as stomach cramping and loose stools usually show up 1 to 4 weeks after the ingestion of E. histolytica cysts.

When the microbes responsible for amoebiasis penetrate the intestinal lining and get to the bloodstream, a much bigger and serious problem called amoebiasis dysentery strikes. It’s something that can cause severe stomach cramping and watery stools, usually with blood in them.

Microbes that have escaped the intestines may get to the various organs of the body, such as the lungs, liver and even the brain, by means of the bloodstream. This can cause anything from severe illness to death.


Amoebiasis is actually highly treatable, provided that it’s mild in form. Usually, a doctor will prescribe metronidazole, a type of antibiotics, and it should be taken orally for 10 days. If there are other symptoms around such as nausea and abdominal pain, additional medications may be prescribed.

Severe cases of amoebiasis require more intensive treatment. Aside from targeting E. histolytica infection, the affected vital organs should also be given attention. In case there are perforations or holes in the intestines because of amoebiasis, then surgery may have to be performed to have the problem dealt with.

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