Amoebiasis: An infectious disease caused by a free-living amoebic parasite called Entamoeba histolytica. The organism infects the bowel and causes gastroenteritis. Infection occurs through ingesting contaminated food or water. It is more common in countries with poor sanitation. The incubation period may last from days to weeks before symptoms appear.
Diagnosis of Amoebiasis / Amoebic Dysentery
Stool examination - Microscopic examination for identifying demonstrable E.H cysts or trophozoites in stool samples is the most confirmative method for diagnosis. Trophozoites survive only for a few hours, so the diagnosis mostly goes with the presence of cysts. But fresh warm faeces always show trophozoites. The cysts are identified by their spherical nature with chromatin bars and nucleus. They are noticed as brownish eggs when stained with iodine. Biopsy also can point out E.H cysts or trophozoites.
Culture of the stool also can guide us for diagnosis.
Blood tests may suggest infection which may be indicated as leucocytosis (increased level of white blood cells), also it can indicate whether any damage to the liver has occurred or not. Ultrasound scan - it should be performed when a liver abscess is suspected.
Treatment of Amoebiasis / Amoebic Dysentery
Symptomatic cases: At the health centre level, symptomatic cases can be treated effectively with metronidazole orally and the clinical response in 48 hours may confirm the suspected diagnosis. The dose is 30mg/kg/day, divided into 3 doses after meals, for 8-10 days. Tinidazole can be used instead of metronidazole. Suspected cases of liver abscess should be referred to the nearest hospital. (ii) Asymptomatic infections: In an endemic area, the concensus is not to treat such persons because the probability of reinfection is very high (3). They may however be treated, if the carrie is a food handler. In non-endemic areas they are always likely to h treated. They should be treated with oral diiodohyroxyquin,...
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