Can Entamoeba histolytica infection be asymptomatic?



Entamoeba Histolytica General Information

Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica) is a protozoa that causes intestinal amebiasis and may also cause extraintestinal manifestations, including amebic liver abscesses, pleuropulmonary abscess, brain abscess, and necrotic lesions on the perianal skin and genitalia, however these severe complications are uncommon.

E. Histolytica Routes of Infection

  • Oral-fecal route of infection- anything that is put in the mouth that has touched the feces of a person who is infected with E. histolytica.
  • Swallowing E. histolytica cysts (eggs) picked up from contaminated surfaces or fingers.
  • Swallowing something, such as water or food, that is contaminated with E. histolytica.

Can E Histolytica Infection Be Asymptomatic?

Approximately 80-90% of E. histolytica infections are asymptomatic and restricted to the lumen of the intestines (noninvasive colonization). About 10-20% of people infected with E. histolytica become sick, usually developing symptoms within 2-4 weeks of infection. Amebic colitis, or invasive intestinal amebiasis, occurs when the mucosa is invaded. 

Are Antibiotics Always Used to Treat E-Histolytica?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, if a person is asymptomatic, 1 antibiotic may be used for treatment, and if a person has a symptomatic E. Histolytica infection, 2 antibiotics are often used for treatment to eradicate the infection.


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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Entamoeba histolytica infection.Retrieved August 8, 2023 from: 
  2. Stat Pearls. (2023, January). Entamoeba histolytica infection. Retrieved August 8, 2023 from: 
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