Amoebic dysentery

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Amoebic dysentery or amoebiasis is a serious infection of the intestines, caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica.

The following symptoms can occur several days to weeks after the infection:

  • Abdominal or rectal cramping with some discharge containing mucous, puss or blood
  • Diarrhoea with mucous or blood
  • Frequent small quantities of stool with mucous
  • Usually little or no fever
  • False need to pass stools (only the sensation that a bowel movement is starting)
  • The course of the disease is sometimes severe, with high fever and bleeding in the intestines

The symptoms can persist for weeks.

Infection occurs via contaminated water or food, or through direct contact with infected stools. The risk of amoebiasis is greater for adventurous travellers, for migrants visiting their country of origin and for individuals with reduced immunity.

Risk areas

Amoebiasis occurs all over the world, but the risk is higher in the tropics, particularly in poor hygienic conditions.

Prevention

Food and drink

Measures to ensure safe consumption of food and drinks will reduce the risk.

Vaccination

There is no vaccine available.

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