Can cause amoebiasis constipation

Infectious diseases

The unicellular Entamoeba histolytica causes the ambe dysentery

Ambe dysentery or ambiasis is caused by the single cell Entamoeba histolytica (a species of ambe). The amber dysentery occurs worldwide, but often only in regions with a warm climate. It is therefore seen as a tropical disease that is introduced to Germany by tourists, for example. It mostly affects young adults and rarely children under 5 years of age, and very rarely infants under 2 years of age. Every year, around 100,000 deaths occur due to amber dysentery.


The source of infection is humans

Sources of infection are people who are infected but not sick. The ambes are excreted with the stool and end up in food and water under poor hygienic conditions (e.g. via flies). In this way, other people can then become infected with the ambes.


Many infections go unnoticed

After the ambs have been ingested, e.g. through food, the pathogens settle in the intestine. At first this does not cause any discomfort. This stage can last for years. But it usually takes two to four weeks. As a result, the ambs in the intestine change their shape. With this changed shape, they are able to penetrate the lining of the colon and destroy it. The consequences are tissue destruction, ulceration, inflammation and bleeding. However, this development does not occur in all infected people; many infections also run completely unnoticed, and that is when there is no change in form of the ambs.


Diarrhea and constipation

Due to the effect of the ambs on the intestinal mucous membrane, there is a slimy-bloody perfusion, which alternates with phases of constipation. In addition, those affected suffer from abdominal pain. The disease tends to flare up again and again, possibly for years. In rare cases the ambes migrate to the liver, where they also destroy tissue.


The pathogen can be detected

If there is suspicion of dysentery, the diagnosis can be confirmed by microscopic detection of the pathogens in the stool. It is also possible to detect so-called antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are proteins that the immune system produces to defend itself against pathogens that have penetrated the body.


Source: Guidelines of the German Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health (DTG)
Therapy consists in the administration of drugs that kill the ambes. Standard treatment is metronidazole 3 x 10 mg / kg / day for 10 days or tinidazole 1 x 30 mg / kg / day for 5 days. If there is still an intestinal infection with Entamoebia histolytica after this treatment (as before the change in form), treatment with paromomycin (humatin) should follow.The alternative administration of diloxanide furoate is also possible. However, this active ingredient is not approved in Germany.


Careful hygiene is the best protection

Combating amber dysentery is very difficult because millions of people worldwide are infected (often without symptoms and therefore unnoticed) and the pathogens are excreted in the stool. Vaccination is not available. In order to protect yourself from ambe infection, careful personal hygiene is required (especially of the hands, and the kitchen and sanitary areas). In warm countries, you should refrain from eating uncooked vegetables, unpeeled fruit and unboiled water, as well as using ice cubes.