Entamoeba histolytica or E.Histolytica is a protozoan that causes parasitic infection of the intestines. The disease is common in Southern and Central parts of America, the Indian Subcontinent and parts of Africa.
At greatest risk are people who travel in tropical countries with underdeveloped sanitation. Men who have had oral or anal sex with other men, immigrants from tropical nations having improper sanitary conditions, those living in prisons or institutions with poor sanitation, people having compromised immune system and other health conditions are at bigger risk of getting the disease amebiasis.
How can I know that I have amebiasis?
When an individual ingests cysts which are an inactive form of parasite, through water or food, the single celled protozoan enters the body. Also if the body gets in direct contact with fecal matter, the protozoan could enter the body.
The inactive forms of parasite called cysts remain in the environment or soil for months where they had been deposited in feces, in feces contaminated water, fertilizer or soil. While handling or preparing food the cysts could be transmitted by food handlers too. Once the cysts enter the human body they get lodged into the digestive tract to release a trophozite, an active and invasive form of parasite.
What are the signs and symptoms of amoeba?
The digestive tract becomes the breeding ground where the trophozite reproduces and migrates into the larger intestine, borrowing themselves into the colon or intestinal wall. The person’s infected feces when released into the environment, releases cysts too and leads to disease spread. The trophozites also enter the blood stream and end up in the brain, lungs, heart, liver and other organs. In tropical nations where sanitation is not developed, amebiasis is a common disease. When internal organs are invaded by trophozites, they could cause severe illness, infections, abscesses and even death.
What is amoeba infection?
Symptoms of the disease include pain in the stomach, cramps in the abdomen and loose stools. Significant symptoms are not experienced by people suffering from amebiasis, however.
Diagnosis by the doctor involves stool samples for many days to detect presence of cysts, doing lab tests to test liver functioning, CT scan or ultrasound to check presence of lesions on the liver or a colonoscopy to check presence of parasites in the colon.
A ten day course of Metronidazole in capsule form is administered to the patient suffering from an uncomplicated case of amebiasis. If needed, medication for nausea treatment may be prescribed by the doctor. In severe cases, if perforations are present in the peritoneal or colon tissues, surgery is also advised.
To avoid amebiasis, the key is proper sanitation. Also if you are in regions most prone to the amebiasis, ensure to wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly, avoid fountain drinks and ice cubes, drink soft drinks or bottled water, avoid street vendor sold food, avoid unpasteurized dairy products and avoid milk and cheese.