AMEBIASIS(Amebic Dysentery; Entamebiasis)
AMEBIASIS (Amebic Dysentery; Entamebiasis)
DESCRIPTIONAmebiasis is a parasitic infection of the large intestine. Body parts involved include the intestinal tract, especially the colon, and the liver (sometimes). It is contagious from one person to another, such as food handlers or family members.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Hospitalization (severe cases only).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSFever.
Intermittent diarrhea with bad-smelling stools. Diarrhea is often preceded by constipation in early stages.
Gas and abdominal bloating.
Abdominal cramps and tenderness.
Mucus and blood in the stool (sometimes).
If the liver is involved:
Tenderness over the liver and right side of the abdomen.
Faulty plumbing in hotels or other places.
Raw vegetables or fruit fertilized with human feces or washed in polluted water.
A microscopic parasite that is spread by flies, cockroaches and direct contact with hands or food contaminated with feces. The most common sources of infection are:
RISK FACTORSCrowded or unsanitary living conditions.
Travel to a foreign country.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Warn your child to wash hands frequently--always before eating.
If you or your child are in an area where food or water may be contaminated, the following measures are necessary:
-- Boil drinking water for 5 minutes.
-- Don't use water that may contain raw sewage for any purpose.
-- Don't eat unpeeled fruit or vegetables and raw fish or shellfish.
Many people--especially those who live in temperate climates -- harbor the amoeba without symptoms. Symptoms occur when the parasite invades tissues of the colon. Symptoms may be very vague.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies of stool and blood serum.
Sigmoidoscopy (See Glossary).
X-rays of lower bowel (barium enema).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSPeritonitis; hepatitis or liver abscess; lung abscess; infection of the pericardium; brain abscess.
In most cases without complications, amebiasis is curable in 3 weeks with treatment. In the carrier state, this disease may not cause any symptoms. In severe cases, it may cause dysentery that requires hospital treatment.
HOME CAREBe extra careful about personal cleanliness. The child should bathe frequently and wash hands with warm water and soap after each bowel movement and before handling food.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe an anti-amoeba drug such as metronidazole, paromomycin, emetine, or diiodohydroxyquin (iodoquinol).
The child should rest in bed during an acute attack and may resume normal activities when fever disappears and diarrhea improves.
DIET & FLUIDS
Soft diet progressing to normal diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When diarrhea has stopped for 24 hours or more.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of amebiasis.
The following occur during treatment: abdominal cramps continue longer than 24 hours; diarrhea or blood in stool increases; vomiting begins; pain begins over liver, or jaundice occurs; a skin rash appears; irritability or a severe headache develop.