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Amoebic Liver Disease

Definition

Amebic liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver caused by the intestinal parasite Entamoeba histolytica.

Alternative Names

Hepatic amebiasis; Extraintestinal amebiasis; Abscess - amebic liver

Causes

Amebic liver abscess is caused by Entamoeba histolytica, the same organism that causes amebiasis, an intestinal infection. The organism is carried through the blood to the liver.

Transmission occurs through ingestion of cysts in fecally-contaminated food or water, use of human waste as fertilizer, and person-to-person contact.

Risk factors for amebic liver abscess include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Old age
  • Pregnancy
  • Steroid use Cancer
  • Immunosuppression
  • Alcoholism
  • Recent travel to a tropical region
  • Homosexuality, particularly in males

Symptoms

Patients may or may not have symptoms of intestinal infection. Symptoms that may be present include:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain, particularly in the right, upper region. Pain may be intense, continuous, or stabbing.
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise )
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain

Exams and Tests

These tests detect abscess in the liver:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Abdominal CT scan or MRI
  • Liver biopsy - rarely done due to high risk of complications
  • Liver scan
  • Liver function tests may show abnormalities
  • A CBC shows elevated white blood cell count, indicating infection.
  • A serology for amebiasis is positive

Prevention

Drink purified water and do not eat uncooked vegetables or unpeeled fruit. Public health measures include improved water purification and waste treatment for underdeveloped areas.

Personal Hygene:

Practice of hand wash before eating and after defeacation.

Illustrations and Images

Liver cell death

Ameoebic liver

Source : Portal Content Team


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