Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica)

AmebiasisAmebiasis is an intestinal illness caused by a one-celled parasite called Entamoeba histolytica. It is found only in human beings. Transmission occurs via the fecal–oral route, either directly by person-to-person contact (e.g., diaper changing, sexual practices) or indirectly by eating or drinking fecally contaminated food or water.

Image Content Provider: CDC/DPDx – Melanie Moser

Symptoms

The symptoms often are quite mild and can include loose stools, stomach pain, and stomach cramping. Although most cases have no symptoms (asymptomatic), the disease can also range from mild to serious (referred to as amebic dysentery). Among those most at risk of serious illness are pregnant women, individuals with a weakened immune system such as those living with AIDS or cancer, transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs or individuals receiving cortocosteroids.

Causes

Transmission occurs via the fecal–oral route, either directly by person-to-person contact (e.g., diaper changing, sexual practices) or indirectly by eating or drinking fecally contaminated food or water. Risk of infection for both travelers and residents is highest in settings with poor sanitation where barriers between human feces and food and water (including ice) are inadequate.

Treatment

Several antibiotics are available to treat amebiasis.

Prevention

Illness is preventable by protecting food and water from fecal contamination as well as practicing good hand hygiene, especially after using the bathroom.


Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Resources

For Health Care Providers


Other Resources

Information for Travelers

Communicable Disease Control
Active Living, Population and Public Health
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
4th Floor - 300 Carlton St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 3M9
CANADA
Phone: 204-788-6737
Fax: 204-948-2190

Health Links – Info Santé
204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257