What is Gastrointestinal Amebiasis

What is Gastrointestinal Amebiasis?

What is Gastrointestinal Amebiasis?

Gastrointestinal amebiasis, a form of food poisoning, arises from a parasite infection. It’s caused by a microscopic organism called Entamoeba histolytica, which travels via the feces of infected individuals. This amoeba, prevalent in areas with inadequate sanitation, can contaminate water sources and, if used as fertilizer, can taint fruits and vegetables.

Once ingested, the amoebas navigate the digestive tract and settle in the large intestine. While often harmless, they can cause amoebic dysentery by infiltrating the intestinal wall. Symptoms of this illness include bleeding, diarrhea, increased mucus production, gas, unintentional weight loss, abdominal tenderness, fever, vomiting, bloody stools, and intestinal ulcers. Additionally, these parasites can enter the bloodstream, potentially leading to liver or brain abscesses.

Factors contributing to severe gastrointestinal amebiasis include alcoholism, pregnancy, recent travel to tropical regions, cancer, malnutrition, and corticosteroid medication usage to suppress the immune system.

Treatment varies based on infection severity, typically involving a 10-day oral course of metronidazole. For patients experiencing frequent vomiting, intravenous administration may be necessary. While the infection typically subsides within two weeks, neglecting treatment can lead to severe complications.

Prevention strategies include consuming purified or boiled water, maintaining proper sanitation, and avoiding raw vegetables or unpeeled fruits, especially when traveling to tropical areas.