Simon Drysdale
Amoebiasis - Introduction
Intestinal amoebae are protozoa of which there are three main species; Entamoeba histolytica, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii, which are morphologically identical. Intestinal disease (amoebiasis) is primarily caused by E. histolytica. E. dispar is generally considered non-pathogenic and the pathogenicity of E. moshkovskii is uncertain.
Most infections are asymptomatic but clinical manifestations include dysentery and extra-intestinal disease. Worldwide E. histolytica and E. dispar infect approximately 500 million people, although the majority of people previously thought to be infected with E. histolytica actually carry the non-pathogenic E. dispar. There are around 100,000 deaths per year due to E. histolytica.

Amoebic cysts are ingested from faecally contaminated food or water or hands. Transmission can also occur via exposure to faeces during sexual practices. Once mature cysts are ingested, excystation occurs in the small intestine of the individual and results in the release of amoebic trophozoites which travel to the large intestine. Once in the large intestine trophozoites multiply and produce cysts which are passed in faeces. Cysts can survive in the external environment for many weeks due to the protection provided by their cell wall. The ingestion of only one cyst can cause disease. The trophozoites can also invade the intestinal wall or can travel to extra-intestinal sites (especially the liver, lungs and brain) via haematogenous spread.

Amoebiasis Amoebiasis 02/13/2016
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