Amebiasis

Any infection in the liver or intestine that is caused by Entamoeba histolytica is known as amebiasis. It is also called amebic dysentery or intestinal amebiasis. Pathogenic amebas cause some infection on the intestine causing diarrhea and fatigue. When a person accidentally consumes food or water that contains the infected fecal particles he would develop amebic dysentery.

An ameba is a parasite having single cell but powerful in multiplying when it finds its way into the intestine or liver. It feeds on leftover food particles and other bacteria inside your body. Very often we all carry some ameba inside our body but it does not cause any serious infection because of our strong immunity. In severe form of amebic infection, it can cause abscess in the liver or intestine.

Causes :

Entamoeba histolytica is the main reason for causing amebiasis. It enters into the liver through infected feces that is consumed in the form of contaminated food and damages the intestine. It grows vigorously causing damage to the colon wall thus developing colitis (acute form of dysentery). In rare cases, it can enter the bloodstream affecting vital organs like lungs and brain.

People living in tropical regions and more particularly who live in poor sanitation have risk of getting amebiasis. The parasite gains access into the stomach when a person eats or drinks contaminated food that contains the stools of ameba.

This disease is contagious and can spread easily to others when they come into direct contact with the infected person by kissing.

Other factors that cause amebiasis are consumption of alcohol, autoimmune disorder, pregnancy and old age. People who are traveling frequently to areas of amebiasis can get this problem easily. Children and infants who have impaired immunity can also get this infection from others.

Symptoms :

During the initial stages, there may not be any symptoms. Often, the first sign begins to appear after 10-15 days of infection. Some of the symptoms of amebiasis are pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, excess of gas formation in the stomach and rectal pain due to frequent bowel movement.

In case of severe infection, it may cause blood discharge in stools and increase in number of times of passing stools. For some people it may cause fever, nausea and vomiting.

Diagnoses :

The doctor may examine the body of the infected person physically and he would examine his stool for detecting the presence of parasite. In case of severe infection, sigmoidoscopy is done for checking the condition of intestinal wall.

Treatment :

Depending on the severity of infection caused by ameba and how far it has affected the intestinal wall, the doctor decides the treatment.

Often, metronidazole is given orally to control the symptoms of amebiasis. You may also be given paromomycin or iodoquinol for controlling the disease. In rare cases, the doctor may perform liver abscess for draining the fluid collected there.

Prevention :

You can prevent amebiasis by eating cooked food and drinking only pure water that is boiled and cooled. If you are traveling frequently to other countries with poor sanitation, you need to be careful not eating outside foods that contains contamination.

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