Amoebic dysentery is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Amoebae spread by forming infective cysts which can be found in stools and spread if whoever touches them does not sanitize their hands. There are also free amoebae, or trophozoites, that do not form cysts.
Amoebic dysentery is well known as a "traveler's dysentery" because of its prevalence in developing nations, or "Montezuma's Revenge" although it is occasionally seen in industrialized countries. Liver infection, and subsequent amoebic abscesses can occur. Bleeding in stools may occur.
Once recovery starts, early refeeding is advocated avoiding foods containing lactose due to temporary [can persist for years] lactose intolerance.
The first and main task in managing any episode of dysentery is to maintain fluid intake using oral rehydration therapy. If this can not be adequately maintained, either through nausea and vomiting or the profuseness of the diarrhea, then hospital admission may be required for intravenous fluid replacement. Ideally no antimicrobial therapy is started until microbiological microscopy and culture studies have established the specific infection involved. Where laboratory services are lacking, it may be required to initiate a combination of drugs including an amoebicidal drug to kill the parasite and an antibiotic to treat any associated bacterial infection. There are several Shigella vaccine candidates in various stages of development that could reduce the incidence of dysentery in endemic countries, as well as in travelers suffering from traveler's diarrhea.
Amoebic dysentery can be treated with metronidazole. Mild cases of bacillary dysentery are often self-limiting and do not require antibiotics, which are reserved for more severe or persisting cases; campylobacter, shigella and salmonella respond to ciprofloxacin or macrolide antibiotics.
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