Ameba are not worms but tiny animals or parasites that can be seen only with a microscope (an instrument that makes things look much bigger).
HOW THEY ARE TRANSMITTED
The stools of infected people have millions of these tiny parasites. Because of poor sanitation, they get into the source of drinking water or into the food, and other people become infected.
SIGNS OF INFECTION WITH AMEBA
Many healthy people have ameba without becoming sick. However, ameba are a common cause of severe diarrhea or dysentery (diarrhea with blood) especially in persons already weakened by other sickness or poor nutrition. Less commonly, ameba cause painful, dangerous abscesses in the liver.
TYPICAL AMEBIC DYSENTERY CONSISTS OF :
- Diarrhea that comes and goes–Sometimes alternating with constipation
- Cramps in the belly and a need to have frequent bowel movements, even when little or nothing or just mucus comes out.
- Many loose (but usually not watery) stools with lots of mucus, sometimes stained with blood; little or no dehydration.
- In severe cases, much blood : The person may be very weak and ill.
- Usually, there is no fever.
Diarrhea with blood may be caused by either ameba or bacteria. However, bacterial dysentery (shigella) begins more suddenly, the stools are more watery and there is almost always fever.
As a general rule : Diarrhea+blood+fever=bacterial infection (shigella)
Occasionally, bloody diarrhea has other causes. To be sure of the cause, a stool analysis may be necessary. Sometimes ameba get into the liver and form an abscess or pocket of pus.
This causes tenderness or pain in the right upper belly. Pain may extend into the right chest and is worse when the person walks. Compare this with gallbladder pain, hepatitis, cirrhosis. If the person with these signs begins to cough up a brown liquid, know that an amebic abscess is draining into his or her lungs.
Make and use toilets or latrines, protect the source of drinking water and follow the guidelines of cleanliness. Eating well and avoiding fatigue and drunkenness are also important in preventing amebic dysentery.
- If possible, get a medical help and a stool analysis.
- Amebic dysentery can be treated with metronidazole, if possible together with diloxanide furoate or tetracycline. For the dosage and length of treatment and prcaution, visit here
- For amebic abscess, treat as for amebic dysentery and then take chloroquine for 10 days.
I will love to have brief explanation on Giardia because of the same characteristics it has with ameba.
The Giardia like ameba is a microscopic parasite that lives in the gut and is a common cause of diarrhea in both adults and children. The diarrhea is persistent for many days and accompanied by mild oramps and abdominal pains.
The belly feels swollen and the person farts and burps a lot. The burps have a bad taste like sulfur. The diarrhea is liquid, smelly and may appear yellow and frothy but does not show any blood or mucus. There is usually no fever.
Giardia infections sometimes clear up by themselves but may recur. Diarrhea usually continues despite the use of Rehydration Drink or antibiotics which cure bacterial dysentery but responds at once to the same drug used for amebic dysentery, metronidazole.