Amoebiasis is an infection that affects the gastrointestinal tract of humans. What causes it and how can it be treated? Is there a way to prevent its onset?
Millions of people from around the world are infected with amoebiasis. This condition is one of the many major health problems faced by several countries, including South East Asia, West Asia, China, Mexico, and Latin America. It is being theorized that a form of amoebiasis, particularly invasive amoebiasis, is the reason behind the deaths of many people worldwide. It is estimated that around 40,000 to 110,000 people from around the world die of amoebiasis every year.
What is Amoebiasis and What are Its Different Types?
Amoebiasis is a common infection caused by a parasite that infects the large intestines of humans. People at any age can be infected with this disease, although it may be more common in young adults and middle-aged individuals. People who have this condition may or may not suffer from noticeable symptoms. Those who experience symptoms may be carrying one of two kinds of this disease: intestinal amoebiasis and extraintestinal amoebiasis. Those with intestinal amoebiasis may likely develop a condition known as invasive amoebiasis. This condition can lead to several discomforts and symptoms that affect the intestines such as diarrhea and amoebic dysentery. Extraintestinal amoebiasis, on the other hand, may affect other parts of the body other than the intestines. It can affect the liver, lungs, skin, spleen, and even the brain. Asymptomatic amoebiasis or amoebiasis that does not show any symptom may not make a person ill. However, it may still be passed from one person to another and may cause illness in another.
What Causes Amoebiasis?
Amoebiasis is caused by the protozoan parasite known as Entamoeba histolytica. E. histolytica cannot live outside the human body. It penetrates into the human gastrointestinal tract and burrows deep into the intestinal walls. It can cause abcesses and ulcers and may infect the bowel. Without treatment, E. histolytica can travel to other parts of the body such as the liver through the veins of the intestines. Other body parts that are reached by this protoa may also become infected and be decked with abcesses and ulcers. The formation of pus in the liver (liver abcess), lungs (lung abcess), and brain (brain abcess), is a sign of advanced stage of amoebiasis. If not treated, it can be highly fatal to a person.
How Can a Person Contract Amoebiasis?
There are a variety of ways by which a person may contract amoebiasis. The most common mode of transmission of E. histolytica is through food and water. People are likely to get this disease if they eat contaminated food, drink contaminated water, and handle contaminated objects.
Treatment for Amoebiasis
Most common forms of treatment for amoebiasis is the administration of antibiotics, such as metronidazole and tinidazole. Usually, antibiotics is given three times a day and may be administered to the patient for at least one week to 10 days. Dosage may vary according to the age of patients. Children are more likely given a lower dosage compared to adults. If antibiotics does not make any improvements on the condition of the patient, other modes of treatment may be used. In the event where amoebic abcess may develop on the liver, spleen, lungs, or brain, doctors may advise an operation on the affected area. The operation is usually meant to drain the abcess. There are some people who may also develop other complications resulting from amoebiasis. A common complication that may arise from this disease include peritonitis. This usually happens when bacteria is spilled into the peritoneum of a person. In this case, doctors may need to perform surgical procedures aside from administering antibiotics to the patient.
How to Prevent Amoebiasis
Amoebiasis is a serious and contagious disease but it can be prevented in a number of ways. One good way to prevent its development is to maintain cleanliness at all times. Proper sanitation can help keep amoebiasis away. Other ways to prevent amoebiasis may also include the following:
• Avoid handling contaminated food and water.
• Avoid eating food that may be contaminated with all sorts of infectious agents.
• Always wash hands after changing the nappies of babies.
• Avoid eating food and drinking water sold on the streets if possible. If this cannot be helped, ensure that the food or water is placed on a sealed container.
• Avoid eating or drinking dairy products that may not have gone through pasteurization process.
• Avoid drinking from water fountains meant for public use.
Carriers of the disease may also have used the same fountain, raising the chances of passing the disease to others.
Preventing the onset of amoebiasis is likely to keep people away from all sorts of inconviences brought about the development of the disease.
Originally posted at my Suite101 account, Types of Amoebiasis: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention