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Amoebic dysentery (or amebic dysentery) is a type of bloody diarrhea caused primarily by the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebic dysentery is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Amoebae spread by forming infective cysts which can be found in stools, and spread if whoever touches them does not sanitize their hands. There are also free amoebae, or trophozoites, that do not form cysts, however trophozoites do not survive long outside the human gastrointestinal tract and are a purely diagnostic observation. Trophozoites are the agent responsible for symptoms.
Amoebic dysentery is most common in developing countries although it is occasionally seen in industrialized countries, and not just in travellers. Although it is commonly associated with tropical climates, the first documented case was in St Petersburg, Russia. Amoebic dysentery is often confused with "traveler's diarrhea" because of the prevalence of both in developing nations. In fact, most traveller's diarrhea is bacterial or viral in origin. Liver infection, and subsequent amoebic abscesses can occur. Blood may be present in stool.
It can be considered equivalent to intestinal amoebiasis.
Signs and symptoms
The common symptoms of amoebic dysentery may include violent diarrhea, often accompanied with blood and/or mucus visible in the foul-smelling stools, severe colitis, frequent flatulence in which the patient gives off malodorous gas, abdominal bloating, dehydration (can be prevented by drinking large amounts of vital liquids or any medication that can stop dehydration), severe abdominal cramps and tenderness, slight to severe weight loss, moderate to severe anemia (an effect of the bloody stools), moderate fever, mild to severe fatigue (an effect of dehydration) and mild chills. These can also be caused by or a result in other diseases.
The amoebae may be then carried in the blood to the liver resulting in the formation of an abscess that presents the following symptoms: fever, chills, mild to severe explosive diarrhea, pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen, jaundice, weight loss and hepatomegaly.
Amoebic dysentery is caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica, found in contaminated food, drinks, and other hand held objects.