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Med J Aust. 2007 Apr 16;186(8):412-6.

Amoebiasis: current status in Australia.

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Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW.


Entamoeba histolytica is one of the most common parasitic infections worldwide, infecting about 50 million people and resulting in 40,000-100,000 deaths a year. In Australia, people at risk of infection include immigrants, travellers returning from countries of high endemicity, Indigenous people, and men who have sex with men. Clinical manifestations range from asymptomatic carriage to invasive disease. Amoebic colitis and amoebic liver abscess are the most common invasive manifestations observed in Australia. Diagnosis depends on a high index of suspicion and laboratory investigations. Molecular methods (using the polymerase chain reaction) are the most sensitive for identifying and differentiating Entamoeba species. Treatment should always include a luminal agent to eradicate colonisation, prevent spread and/or reduce the risk of invasive disease. Medical therapy can successfully cure invasive disease, including amoebic liver abscesses.

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