(Amebiasis)En Español (Spanish Version)
Amoebic dysentery is an intestinal illness associated with stomach pain, bloody stools, and fever. This condition can be treated. Contact your doctor if you think you may have amoebic dysentery.
Amoebic dysentery is caused by a parasite called Entamoeba histolytica . You may develop amoebic dysentery if you:
- Put something in your mouth that has touched the stool of a person infected with E histolytica
- Swallow water or food that has been contaminated with E histolytica
- Touch cysts (eggs) from E histolytica -contaminated surfaces and bring them to your mouth
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A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following risk factors increase your chance of developing amoebic dysentery. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:
- Living in or traveling to developing countries, places that have poor sanitary conditions, or tropical or subtropical areas
- Living in institutions
- Having anal-sexual intercourse
If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to amoebic dysentery. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
- Loose stools
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain
- Stomach cramping
- Bloody stools
- Liver abscesses (rare)
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
- Stool samples
- Blood tests
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Several antibiotics are available to treat amoebic dysentery.
To help reduce your chances of getting amoebic dysentery, take the following steps when traveling to a country that has poor sanitary conditions:
- Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled for at least one minute
- Do not eat fresh fruit or vegetables that you do not peel yourself
- Do not eat or drink unpasteurized milk, cheese, or dairy products
- Do not eat or drink anything sold by street vendors
National Center for Infectious Diseases
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Communicable Disease Control Unit
Public Health Agency of Canada
Amebiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/amebiasis/factsht_amebiasis.htm . Accessed December 3, 2006.
Amebiasis (amoebic dysentery). New York State Department of Health website. Available at: http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/amebiasis/fact_sheet.htm . Accessed December 3, 2006.
Amoebic dysentery. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed102.epnet.com/Detail.aspx?id=116378. Accessed December 3, 2006.
Last reviewed February 2008 by David Horn, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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