Q:

How do you treat amoebic dysentery?

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Quick Answer

Amoebic dysentery requires medical treatment involving a series of medications, beginning with 10 days of metronidazole given orally. Paromomycin or diloxanide is the usual follow-up treatment. Patients who are vomiting due to the infection sometimes require intravenous medication. Sufferers do not receive medication that stops the diarrhea as it makes the dysentery worse, according to MedlinePlus.

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Without treatment, the parasite spreads to the blood, liver and brain. Some people carry the parasite in their intestines without any symptoms. Others begin developing symptoms within one to four weeks of ingesting the amoeba. MedlinePlus indicates the symptoms begin when the amoeba attacks the lining of the colon. Symptoms include excess gas, bloody diarrhea, fatigue, fever and vomiting. In severe cases, the patient passes up to 20 stools daily. With treatment, the disease lasts about 14 days, and the prognosis is generally good.

Amoebic dysentery is more common in tropical or subtropical areas. Unsanitary or crowded living conditions contribute to the spread of the disease. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, people traveling to these areas should practice frequent hand washing, and avoid eating fruit they do not peel themselves or food from street vendors. Travelers should only drink bottled or boiled water.

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