Amoebiasis refers to harbouring the parasite Entamoeba histolytica with or without clinical manifestations. It is a common infection of the human gastro-intestinal tract and is quite common in India and other developing countries. Sometimes, it is also present outside the intestines and may affect the liver (liver abscess), lungs, brain, spleen and skin.
Most individuals infected with Entamoeba Histolytica remain symptom free and are healthy carriers of the parasite. The only source of infection is a patient's faeces which contains cysts. It can be transmitted through contaminated food and water.
Period of communicability
If a carrier is not treated, his period of communicability can be as long as he continues to excrete the cysts which may go on for several years.
Only a small percentage of affected people show symptoms of amoebiasis. It varies from mild abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea to acute dysentry. Some people complain of acute abdominal pain with loose motions, with or without mucous in it. Sometimes, the parasites invade the bowels and cause ulceration, or, they may even enter a vein and reach the liver and other organs.
Prevention and control
Amoebiasis can be prevented by maintaining sanitation at home and public places. It does not take long for water, vegetables, fruits and other foodstuff to get contaminated. Make sure that you wash everything properly before cooking. And remember to periodically check your sewage disposal system for leakages.