Amoebiasis is the infection of the human gastrointestinal tract by
Entamoeba histolytica, a protozoan parasite that is capable of invading
the intestinal mucosa and may spread to other organs, mainly the
liver. Entamoeba dispar, an ameba morphologically similar to E.
histolytica that also colonizes the human gut, has been recognized
recently as a separate species with no invasive potential. The
acceptance of E. dispar as a distinct but closely related protozoan
species has had profound implications for the epidemiology of
amoebiasis, since most asymptomatic infections found worldwide are
now attributed to this noninvasive ameba.
Invasive amoebiasis due to E. histolytica is more common in
developing countries. In areas of endemic infection, a variety of
conditions including ignorance, poverty, overcrowding, inadequate
and contaminated water supplies, and poor sanitation favor direct
fecal-oral transmission of amebas from one person to another. Being
responsible for approximately 70 thousand deaths annually,
amoebiasis is the fourth leading cause of death due to a protozoan
infection after malaria, Chagas’ disease, and leishmaniasis and the
third cause of morbidity in this organism group after malaria and
trichomoniasis, according to recent World Health Organization
Patients with dysentery have an average of three to five
mucosanguineous evacuations per day, with moderate colic pain
preceding discharge, and they have rectal tenesmus. In patients with
bloody diarrhea, evacuations are also few but the stools are composed
of liquid fecal material stained with blood. While there is moderate
colic pain, there is no rectal tenesmus. Fever and systemic
manifestations are generally absent.
The Entamoeba MonlabTest® is a rapid chromatographic
immunoassay for the qualitative detection of Entamoeba antigens in
human feces specimens to aid in the diagnosis of amoebiasis.
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