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Amoebic Dysentery

En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition | Causes | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention


Amoebic dysentery is an intestinal illness caused by a parasite and associated with stomach pain, bloody stools, and fever.


Amoebic dysentery is caused by a parasite called Entamoeba histolytica. You may develop amoebic dysentery if you:

  • Put something in your mouth that has touched the stool of a person infected with E. histolytica
  • Swallow water or food that has been contaminated with E. histolytica
  • Touch cysts (eggs) from E. histolytica—contaminated surfaces and bring them to your mouth

Digestive Pathway

Digestive pathway

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk of getting amoebic dysentery include:

  • Living in or traveling to developing countries, places that have poor sanitary conditions, tropical, or subtropical areas
  • Living in institutions
  • Having anal sexual intercourse
  • Household contact


Symptoms may include:

  • Loose or watery stools
  • Bloody stools
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Pain on your right, upper side


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Your doctor may need tests of your bodily fluids and waste products. This can be done with:

  • Blood tests
  • Stool samples

Images may need to be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:


Several antibiotics are available to treat amoebic dysentery. Probiotics may also be helpful.


To help reduce your chances of getting amoebic dysentery, take the following steps when traveling to a country that has poor sanitary conditions:

  • Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled for at least one minute
  • Do not eat fresh fruit or vegetables that you do not peel yourself
  • Do not eat or drink unpasteurized milk, cheese, or dairy products
  • Do not eat or drink anything sold by street vendors
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.




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