Amoebic dysentery is an intestinal infection caused by a protozoan parasite called Entamoeba histolytica.
Infection by Entamoeba histolytica may be asymptomatic. The symptoms of amoebic dysentery include fever, chills, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and passing stool with blood and/or mucus, etc. Entamoeba histolytica may invade the liver to form an abscess. Less commonly, it spreads to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain. Other complications include inflammation of the intestine and in severe cases, perforation.
Mode of transmission
Transmission of amoebic dysentery occurs mainly through faecal-oral route including ingestion of faecal contaminated food or water containing the cyst of Entamoeba histolytica. Transmission can also occur through person-to-person contact such as diaper-changing and oral-anal sex.
People who live in institutions, travellers who travel to or immigrants from developing countries with poor sanitary conditions, and men who have sex with men are at a higher risk of getting the disease.
The incubation period is variable, and may range from a few days to several months. It is usually 2 - 4 weeks.
Treatment may include appropriate use of antibiotics.
* Please visit the website of Centre for Food Safety for more information on food safety.