Epidemiologists in American Samoa are investigating an outbreak of the protozoan parasite, Entamoeba histolytica, which according to report, has sickened more than two dozen.
Half of the 26 people stricken with amoebic dysentery have been hospitalized for their illness, according to Radio New Zealand report today.
Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association Epidemiologist, Mark Duran told the news source, “It [amoebic dysentery] especially attacks the intestines and kind of eats its way into the wall of the intestines; it causes abdominal pain, it causes bloody diarrhea, fever.”
Amebiasis is a disease caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica. It can affect anyone, although it is more common in people who live in tropical areas with poor sanitary conditions. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
People mostly get infected with the parasite from ingestion of fecally contaminated food and water containing the amebic cysts. Transmission can also occur through oral-anal contact with a chronically ill or asymptomatic carrier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 10% to 20% of people who are infected with E. histolytica become sick from the infection. Of those who do become sick, symptoms may include stomach pain, bloody stools (poop), and fever. Rarely, E. histolytica invades the liver and forms an abscess (a collection of pus). In a small number of instances, it has been shown to spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain, but this is very uncommon.