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Amoebic Dysentery

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Amoebic Dysentery



Amoebic dysentery is an intestinal illness. If left untreated, it can cause serious problems or even death.


This problem is caused by an infection with a specific parasite. A person may become infected with the parasite by:

  • Putting something in their mouth that has touched the stool of an infected person
  • Swallowing water or food that is contaminated
  • Swallowing eggs picked up from contaminated surfaces or hands
Digestive Pathway.

Digestive pathwayhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=69066906digestive_pathway.jpgDigestive pathwayNULLjpgDigestive pathwayNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\digestive_pathway.jpgNULL80NULL2008-02-043942636906_181494Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

This condition is more common in tropical, developing countries. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Spending time in places that have poor sanitary conditions
  • Living in institutions with poor sanitary conditions
  • Oral-anal contact
  • Household contact with an infected person
  • Men who have sex with men


Most people do not have symptoms. Those who do may have:


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

Stool (poop) will be tested to look for signs of infection. Blood tests may also be done. These tests will be used to confirm the diagnosis.


Antibiotics will be given to treat amoebic dysentery. More than one may be used. Probiotics may also ease symptoms.


In poor sanitary conditions, the risk of this problem can be lowered by:

  • Drinking only bottled water
  • Using iodine to disinfect nonbottled water
  • Drinking other fluids (like soda) from sealed cans or bottles
  • Not adding ice cubes to drinks
  • Not eating unpeeled fruits and veggies
  • Not eating or drinking unpasteurized milk, cheese, or dairy products
  • Not eating foods or drinks sold by street vendors
  • Washing hands often with soap and water—or using hand sanitizer




  • Amebiasis (amoebic dysentery). New York State Department of Health website. Available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/amebiasis/fact_sheet.htm.
  • Amebiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/amebiasis.
  • Escolà-Vergé L, Arando M, et al. Outbreak of intestinal amoebiasis among men who have sex with men, Barcelona (Spain), October 2017 and January 2017. Euro Surveill. 2017;22(30):pii:30581.
  • Parasites–amebiasis— Entamoeba histolytica infection . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/amebiasis/general-info.html.


  • Mark D. Arredondo, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.