What is Amoebiasis?

Amoebiasis is a parasitic infection. It occurs due to the presence of the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica. A prevalent disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Those living in developing countries with poor sanitation and hygiene practices experience a significant impact. This article gives you complete information about Amoebiasis.

Definition of Amoebiasis

The protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica infects the body and causes Amoebiasis. This parasite infects the large intestine. It causes symptoms such as → abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools. Severe cases of the parasite can spread to other organs, like → the liver. Resulting in complications that can be life-threatening.

Amoebiasis Disease

Contaminated food or water contains this parasite. Areas with poor sanitation are more commonly prone to its presence. Amoebiasis can affect people of all ages but is more common in young children and travelers to endemic areas.

Amoebiasis symptoms can differ and can range from mild to severe. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools are common symptoms experienced. Sometimes, the parasite can spread to other organs, like → the liver. It causes a severe condition known as an amoebic liver abscess.

The impact of Amoebiasis on individuals can be significant. The disease may cause chronic health issues such as → malnutrition, anemia, and dehydration, particularly in children. Severe cases of Amoebiasis can cause life-threatening complications. These complications include → liver failure, peritonitis, and sepsis.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the causes and transmission of Amoebiasis.

Causes and Transmission of Amoebiasis

Now we will look at the causes and transmission of Amoebiasis.

Entamoeba Histolytica

The protozoan parasite called Entamoeba histolytica causes Amoebiasis. A parasite lives in the large intestine. The lining of the colon can become inflamed & develop ulcers. This leads to symptoms such as → abdominal pain, diarrhea, & bloody stools.

The lining of the colon is also called the colon. It refers to the innermost layer of the large intestine. The colon is responsible for absorbing water and electrolytes from the digestive waste material as it passes through the digestive system.

Transmission Through Contaminated Food or Water

Contaminated Water

People typically transmit the parasite that causes Amoebiasis through contaminated food or water. The parasite can contaminate food or water through feces, leading to such occurrences. For example, the parasite can be carried by fruits & vegetables that grow in contaminated soil or are washed with contaminated water. If you drink water from polluted sources like → rivers or lakes without treatment, it can also cause infections.

Risk Factors

Poor sanitation and hygiene can increase the risk of Amoebiasis. The reason for this is that the parasite frequently inhabits regions lacking proper sanitation, clean water, & adequate waste disposal facilities. Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions, like → refugee camps or slums, puts individuals at a higher risk of infection. Moreover, if people neglect to wash their hands regularly after using the toilet, their chances of getting infected may rise. Maintaining proper personal hygiene is crucial to avoid the transmission of diseases.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the symptoms of Amoebiasis.

Symptoms of Amoebiasis

In areas with poor sanitation and hygiene, people commonly experience the spread of a disease through contaminated food & water. In this section, let’s concentrate on how Amoebiasis symptoms can affect our bodies.

The following are the symptoms:

Abdominal Pain and Cramping

Abdominal Pain and Cramping: Symptoms of Amoebiasis

These are among the most common symptoms of Amoebiasis. We may experience varying degrees of pain, ranging from mild to severe. Which can be felt throughout your abdomen. It is usually accompanied by cramping, which can be intermittent or constant. Inflammation in the large intestine causes pain, where the parasite is most active.

Diarrhea, Often With Blood or Mucus

Diarrhoea: Symptoms of Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis causes diarrhea, which varies in severity. In severe instances, the diarrhea becomes frequent and watery, often with the presence of blood or mucus. The stools may have a foul smell and appear black or tarry. The inflammation of the large intestine causes diarrhea, impacting the absorption of water and nutrients.

Fatigue and Weight Loss

Fatigue : Symptoms of Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis can cause fatigue (a state of physical or mental exhaustion) and weight loss, especially in severe cases. The body loses fluids and nutrients through diarrhoea. This is because of inflammation in the intestine. Which can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients. In addition, the body is working hard to fight off the infection, which can cause – fatigue.

Severe Cases can Lead to Organ Damage and Death

liver Organ Damage: Symptoms of Amoebiasis

Sometimes, Amoebiasis can go beyond the large intestine and attack other organs, like → the liver. When this happens, liver abscesses may develop, and if they aren’t treated quickly, they can be a serious threat to life. In addition, severe dehydration from prolonged diarrhea can lead to → kidney failure, which can also be fatal.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Amoebiasis

The protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica often infects many people and causes Amoebiasis. The disease can impact the large intestine. Resulting in symptoms like → abdominal pain, diarrhea, & bloody stools. In severe cases, the parasite may also infect other organs, like → the liver.

Diagnosis of Amoebiasis

Doctors do amoebiasis diagnoses by analyzing stool samples or performing blood tests. Healthcare providers collect and examine a stool sample under a microscope to check for the presence of the parasite. Healthcare professionals may also conduct blood tests to search for antibodies to the parasite.

Here are some steps of the diagnosis of Amoebiasis.

1. Stool Analysis

During a stool analysis, the healthcare provider collects a sample of your stool and examines it under a microscope. The parasite appears as a small, single-celled organism with a distinctive nucleus. If the lab finds the parasite in your stool sample, it means you have Amoebiasis.

2. Blood Tests

When a parasite invades your body, your immune system kicks into action and produces antibodies to fight it off. You can detect these antibodies through a blood test. If your blood test result shows a positive outcome, you contracted the parasite at some point in the past.

Antimicrobial Medications

Antimicrobial medications treat Amoebiasis most effectively. The medications work by killing the parasite and reducing the severity of symptoms. The doctor will prescribe medication based on how severe the infection is and where the parasite is located.

Here are some examples of Antimicrobial medications:

1. Antibiotics

Doctors commonly use metronidazole and tinidazole, two antibiotics, to treat Amoebiasis. These antibiotics kill the parasite in the intestine and stop it from spreading to other parts of the body.

2. Antiparasitic Drugs

Another class of medication used to treat Amoebiasis is antiparasitic drugs such as paromomycin. People use this medication to kill the parasite in the intestine. Which stops it from spreading to other parts of the body.

3. Severe Cases May Require Hospitalization and Supportive Care

Severe cases may require hospitalization for treatment. If the infection has spread to other parts of the body, like → the liver, it becomes even more urgent. In such cases, supportive care may be necessary, including intravenous fluids, electrolyte replacement, & nutritional support.

In the next section, Let’s discuss Amoebiasis prevention.

Prevention of Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis, which is a parasitic infection, can cause distressing symptoms such as → severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, & discomfort. Fortunately, we can take measures to reduce the risk of contracting Entamoeba histolytica. The protozoan parasite that causes Amoebiasis.

Good Hygiene and Sanitation Practices

Good Hygiene and Sanitation Practices

Practicing good hygiene and sanitation is considered one of the best ways to prevent Amoebiasis. This means washing your hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. Make sure you keep your living areas clean and tidy. Don’t share personal items like → towels or toothbrushes with others.

Boiling or Treating Drinking Water

Boiling or Treating Drinking Water

Another important prevention measure is to ensure that your drinking water is clean and free from contamination. If you’re not sure about the safety of your water source, you can boil it for at least one minute. Boiling kills any parasites or bacteria. Alternatively, you can use water purification tablets or filters to remove harmful organisms.

Avoiding Potentially Contaminated Food and Water Sources

Avoiding Potentially Contaminated Food Sources

Lastly, exercise caution regarding the food and water you consume, particularly while traveling to regions with inadequate sanitation. Avoid consuming raw fruits and vegetables that could have been washed in contaminated water. Make sure to drink bottled water or water that has undergone proper treatment. You should also avoid ice cubes made out of tap water. Keep an eye out for food left out in the open for too long.

In the next section, we will discuss the global impact of this disease.

Global Impact of Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis poses a major public health concern in developing countries with poor sanitation. The World Health Organization (WHO) evaluated that approximately 50 million cases of Amoebiasis occur worldwide every year. Resulting in an estimated 40,000 to 110,000 deaths annually.

High Prevalence in Developing Countries with Poor Sanitation

Developing Countries with Poor Sanitation

Amoebiasis happens more often in developing countries with inadequate sanitation. Contaminated food & water sources are common in such places. The disease is more prevalent in areas with overcrowded living conditions and poor hygiene practices.

Impact on Mortality and Morbidity Rates

Amoebiasis has the potential to greatly affect mortality and morbidity rates. Severe cases of Amoebiasis may cause amoebic dysentery. It is a life-threatening type of diarrhea. The disease might also lead to the formation of liver abscesses. This can cause intense pain, fever, & jaundice.

Final Words

Amoebiasis happens when the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica invades the body. This invader can bring about various symptoms such as → abdominal pain, diarrhea, & bloody stools. It can sometimes spread to other organs such as the liver, leading to more severe complications.

Prevention of Amoebiasis involves practicing good hygiene such as → washing hands regularly, and avoiding contaminated food & water sources. Treatment typically involves a course of antibiotics to kill the parasite, along with rehydration therapy to address any dehydration caused by diarrhea.

Further Reading

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  1. Calicut Medical College, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  2. Calicut Medical College, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. Ed Uthman from Houston, TX, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  4. Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  5. Vivien Rolfe, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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