Entamoeba hystolytica is a scientific term that describes the infiltration of a single cell parasite into a person’s body. Generally, these parasites are vectored through contaminated food and water. Upon entering the body these parasites then travel their way to the digestive tract, where infection can occur. Most healthy adults are able to flush such parasites from their body and ameliorate the infection before the parasites can multiply. However, individuals who are sick, young, or whose immune systems have been compromised may have difficulty fighting the disease.
The most common causes of entamoeba hytolytica are drinking tainted water, eating contaminated fresh vegetables, or coming into contact with the feces of infected individuals. Consequently, the disease is most commonly seen in unhygienic regions that are densely populated. The combination of unsanitary conditions and individuals in close proximity allow the disease to spread quickly and pervasively. Symptoms of patients with entamoeba hytolytica include nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, and blood in their stool.
Diagnosing Entamoeba Hystolytica
Proper diagnosis of this infectious disease requires medical professionals to follow procedural guidelines regarding the identification of intestinal parasites. These protocols include:
- Inquiry regarding the living conditions of the patient as well as any recent travel to determine if exposure is likely.
- Procurement of a stool sample.
- Laboratory testing of the stool sample.
- If the test returns indicating a positive result for entamoeba hytolytica, further tests are performed to determine the extent of the issue.
Improper or Delayed Diagnosis
A laboratory error is the most common cause of a misread or delayed diagnosis in the case of entamoeba hytolytica. Furthermore, as the symptoms of entamoeba hystolytica often mirror those of other common conditions, such a mistake makes it more common for doctors to fail to make a proper diagnosis. Failure of the patient to be blatant and honest concerning their living conditions can also contribute to a delay in identifying the disease. Any misdiagnosis or delay can further exacerbate the problem, as the parasite breeds and invades the digestive system.
Consequences of Misdiagnosis or Delayed Treatment
Failure to swiftly diagnose and treat entamoebic hytolytica can be extremely detrimental and possibly result in death. One such debilitating effect of this malady is dehydration caused by loss of water. As the parasites enter the digestive tract and induce diarrhea, the body loses the required amounts of fluid, causing the patient to feel lethargic. Another side effect of this disease is extreme infection. Once they hooked into the digestive tract, the parasites will begin to breed and multiply, further relying on their host for nourishment. Eventually the parasites will appropriate enough nutrients to cripple and possibly kill the patient.