Acute Communicable
Disease Control

Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

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Acute Communicable Disease Control
 Amebiasis (amebiasis)
Click to View the Amebiasis Life Cycle  Adobe PDF Document

Amebiasis is caused by the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Cysts shed in human feces may contaminate food or drinking water or be transferred sexually, on hands, or fomites. Incubation period is 1-4 weeks. Recreational waters such as lakes and pools may also serve as transmission vehicles, since cysts are relatively chlorine-resistant. While intestinal disease is often asymptomatic, symptoms may range from acute abdominal pain, fever, chills, and bloody diarrhea to mild abdominal discomfort with diarrhea alternating with constipation. Extraintestinal infection occurs when organisms become bloodborne, leading to amebic abscesses in the liver, lungs or brain. Complications include colonic perforation. There is no vaccine. The most commonly ordered parasite test (microscopy of stool for ova and parasites) cannot distinguish E. histolytica from E. dispar, a non-pathogenic amebic species. There is an available EIA test, however, that can distinguish between the two.

Additional Resources


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