How is amebiasis prevented?

Updated: Jul 19, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Amebiasis is prevented by eradicating fecal contamination of food and water through improved sanitation, hygiene, and water treatment. In nonendemic areas, disease transmission can be reduced by early treatment of carriers.

Amebic cysts are not killed by soap or low concentrations of chlorine or iodine; therefore, water in endemic areas should be boiled for more than 1 minute and vegetables should be washed with a detergent soap and soaked in acetic acid or vinegar for 10-15 minutes before consumption.

Avoiding sexual practices that involve fecal-oral contact may reduce the risk of sexual transmission of infective cysts. Because reinfection is possible, family members or close contacts of an index case should be screened.

Household contacts of patients with amebiasis should be screened to prevent spread. [77] Patients with a new diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease and history of travel to an endemic area should be screened for amebiasis prior to corticosteroid or other immunosuppressive therapy, as fulminant amebic colitis may result from misdiagnosis. [77]

In humans, natural E histolytica infection does not seem to result in long-term immunity: individuals with a previous amebic liver abscess are as susceptible to a new infection as other members of the population are. [4]


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