Amoebiasis, also known as amoebic dysentery, is an infection caused by any amoebic in the Entamoeba group. Amoebiasis also causes colitis that may develop with diarrhoea and/or dysentery that may be acute or last more than 1 week. Abdominal tenderness and weight loss are common to amoebic colitis.

Amoebial liver abscess presents pain in the upper right quadrant. May not present with diarrhoea but will typically have a history of diarrhoea preceding it.

Symptoms and signs

Although only about 10% -20% of parasite-infected people become ill, the following symptoms and signs may occur in those individuals:

Early symptoms (in about 1-4 weeks) include loose stools and mild abdominal cramping.

If the disease progresses, there may be regular, watery and/or bloody stools with extreme abdominal cramping (termed amoebial dysentery).

If the trophozoites reach the intestinal walls, the initial signs and symptoms of liver abscess development (hepatic amebiasis) are symptoms of liver infection such as liver tenderness and fevers.

Other organs (for example, heart, lungs, brain[ meningoencephalitis]) can produce organ-specific symptoms and cause serious illness and/or death.Abdominal tenderness and/or stomach pain. Abdominal tenderness and/or stomach pain

  • Tenesmus
  • Flatulence
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia

What are risk factors for amebiasis?

Risk factors include,

  • Drinking &  Eating contaminated water,
  • Association with food handlers with contaminated hands,
  • anal sexual practices,
  • contamination of medical devices such as colonic irrigation devices,
  • malnutrition;

What are surgical treatment options for amebiasis?

Surgical treatments are required or indicated for treating amebiasis:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Perforated amoebic colitis
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Failure to respond to metronidazole after four days of treatment
  • Amoebic liver abscesses greater than 10 cm in size
  • Empyema after the liver abscess rupture
  • Amoebic liver abscess representing risk of rupture to the pericardium
  • Impending abscess rupture.
  • Percutaneous drainage by catheter can be lifesaving in patients with amoebic pericarditis

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