Amoebiasis; Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment

Amebiasis is a parasitic infection of the colon; it is caused by an amoeba known as Entamoeba histolytica. Even though it occurs all over the world, the frequency is infection is much higher in developing countries due to the defective sanitation system and increased fecal contamination.

It is often diagnosed in travelers who are residing in a country with endemic Amebiasis. Stats show that at least 50 million individuals get infected with Amebiasis per year, which results in more than 100,000 deaths. This stresses the need for increased awareness of the importance of sanitation systems and how one can protect themselves from Amebiasis infection.


Amebiasis is caused by an infecting agent known as Entamoeba Histolytica. It is mainly transferred by the fecal-oral route when your water or food gets contaminated with cysts of this protozoa. This happens due to a lack of proper sanitation, which leads to the mixing of food sources or water with fecal content. When the cysts are ingested, they travel to the small intestine, where they are converted into a different form known as Trophozoites. These trophozoites then travel to the large intestine and start reproducing to increase the total number of cysts.

These cysts then pass out into the feces, and if these feces get mixed with a food or water source, they can then travel to a new host to cause infection. What makes them even more infectious is that they are protected by a cysts lining; hence they can survive in the outer environment for a long time and may infect a large number of people consuming the infected water or food source. Even though the fecal-oral route is the most common cause of the spread of Amebiasis, it may also be caused by sexual transmission from an infected individual to an uninfected individual.

Written by Greg M. Wilcox

With a background in medical research, I'm dedicated to unraveling the complexities of health and nutrition in a way that's easy to understand and implement. From debunking myths to sharing science-backed insights, my goal is to guide you on a journey towards optimal well-being.