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Symptoms and Signs of Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica Infection)

Doctor's Notes on Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica Infection)

Amebiasis is a disease caused by a one-celled parasite called Entamoeba histolytica. Infection can be found in any setting where sanitation is poor, and it is most commonly found in people in the tropics. Men who have sex with men are also at increased risk for amebiasis. E. histolytica infection can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Good sanitation practices can help prevent amebiasis.

Only about 10% to 20% of people who are infected with E. histolytica become sick, usually within 2 to 4 weeks of infection. Symptoms of amebiasis are often mild and may include loose feces, stomach pain, and stomach cramping. Symptoms of a severe form of amebiasis called amebic dysentery include stomach pain, bloody stools, and fever. In rare cases E. histolytica invades the liver and forms an abscess. Also rarely, the infection may spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica Infection) Symptoms

Only about 10% to 20% of people who are infected with E. histolytica become sick from the infection. The symptoms are often quite mild and can include loose feces (poop), stomach pain, and stomach cramping. Amebic dysentery is a severe form of amebiasis associated with stomach pain, bloody stools (poop), and fever. Rarely, E. histolytica invades the liver and forms an abscess (a collection of pus). In a small number of instances, it has been shown to spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain, but this is very uncommon.

What's Inside Your Drinking Water? Slideshow

What's Inside Your Drinking Water? Slideshow

Let’s start with the basics. Water needs three simple atoms to exist: two hydrogens and one oxygen, which bond to make the molecule H2O. Those two common chemicals give water some rather uncommon properties. For instance, when most liquids freeze and become solid, they sink rather than float. If it sank instead, ice would kill the fish that live beneath freezing ponds and lakes, and also any plants living below, wiping out whole ecosystems.

It takes plenty of warming energy to heat water, too. This is due to something called specific heat capacity. Because water’s specific heat capacity is so high, it maintains its temperature fairly easily. Think about how a pool or an ocean can still feel cold on a hot day. Now consider that the cells of our bodies are full of water content, which comprises as much as 75% of our bodies depending on our age and other factors. Since water maintains its temperature easily, so do we. That means we don’t have to work as hard as we might to stay within a comfortable temperature range.

Since we depend on drinking water, it is important to know what’s actually in there. In this article, learn about potential drinking water health hazards, environmental protections put in place to protect your water, and safe treatments that can assure you are getting the best quality of healthy water.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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