Fighting Amoebiasis: Prevention and Management of Amoebiasis

Written by:

Levangel C. Sta. Lucia-Gregorio MD, DFM

Family and Community Medicine Physician

Do you know that if you accidentally drink a contaminated water or eat a contaminated food, there is a big possibility that you will be infected of an intestinal disease called Amoebiasis? It is an intestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Entamoeba histolytica. This is a disease that can be acquired from ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hence, it is important to know how to prevent and fight this disease because it manifests no symptoms to most people infected with it.[1]

According to the 2019 to 2023 Food and Water-Borne Disease (FWBD) Prevention and Control Program Strategic Plan of the Department of Health (DOH), the goal of eliminating FWBD outbreaks including Amoebiasis was not realized from 2012 to 2016. Several outbreaks were documented by DOH in some parts of the Philippines, with Amoebiasis comprising most of the health events in 2012 (40 percent), 2014 (26 percent), 2015 (30 percent), and 2016 (53 percent).[2]

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Amoebiasis is more common in people who live in tropical areas with poor sanitary conditions. In the United States, this condition is most common in:

  • People who live in institutions that have poor sanitary conditions
  • People who went to tropical places that have poor sanitary conditions
  • Immigrants from tropical countries that have poor sanitary conditions
  • Men who have sex with men[3]

histolytica infection can happen when a person:

  • Ingests something, such as water or food contaminated with E. histolytica
  • Ingests E. histolytica cysts (eggs) picked up from contaminated fingers or surfaces
  • Puts anything into their mouth that has touched the feces of an infected person with E. histolytica[3]

Most people infected of this condition are asymptomatic. However, if symptoms occur, they are visible 7 to 28 days after exposed to E. histolytica.

Mild symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea-passage of 3 to 8 semi-formed stools per day, or passage of soft stools with occasional blood and mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive gas
  • Rectal pain while having a bowel movement
  • Unintentional weight loss[1]

Severe symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Bloody stools including passage of liquid stools with streaks of blood, passage of 10 to 20 stools per day
  • Fever
  • Vomiting[1]

People who are experiencing the above symptoms should seek medical consultation right away. The physician may request for fecal samples. E. histolytica is not always found in every stool sample, hence several stool samples from several different days may be requested. A blood test may also be recommended when the physician thinks that the infection may have spread beyond the intestine to some other organ of the body, such as the liver.[3] Moreover, once the patient is diagnosed of Amoebiasis, the physician may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

As Filipinos living in a tropical country, it is very important to practice these preventive measures to fight Infectious diarrhea such as Amoebiasis:

  • Observe proper handwashing.
  • Water safety interventions- Drinking water should be safe and clean. Measures that are recommended to provide safe and clean water include boiling, chemical disinfection, ultraviolet and filtration.
  • Proper food handling
  • Proper disposal of stools
  • Vaccines
  • Supplements-Probiotics may be given to children and adults. Zinc and Vitamin A supplementation may be given to children.
  • Breastfeeding- Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the infants during the first 6 months of life to prevent diarrhea.[4]


1. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Johns Creek (GA): Ebix, Inc., A.D.A.M.; c1997-2020. Amebiasis; [reviewed 2022 September 10]. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from

2. Kurt Dela Peña. (March 8, 2023) Inquirer. Amoebiasis rising when your water food contain sh..t. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parasites-Amebiasis-Entamoeba histolytica Infection. Reviewed last December 29, 2021. Retrieved on December 1, 2023, from

4. Philippines Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. (July 2022) Philippine Clinical Practice Guideline for Acute Infectious Diarrhea. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from