Amebiasis

Amebiasis (amebic dysentery) is a parasitic infection of the large intestine and sometimes the liver. More common in developing countries, the parasite is spread by flies, cockroaches, and direct contact with hands, food, or drinking water contaminated with feces from an infected person.

Sometimes no symptoms are present. When symptoms do appear, they may include:

  • Abdominal bloating and cramps.
  • Dehydration.
  • Gas and foul-smelling stools.
  • Diarrhea that comes and goes.
  • Mucus and blood in the stool.

To diagnose amebiasis, a health professional will have laboratory tests done on a stool sample. Treatment may include medication, fluid replacement, rest, a diet of soft foods, and education about the importance of frequent hand-washing and other preventive measures.

Last Updated: April 28, 2008

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology

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