Entamoeba histolytica is a human pathogenic protozoon and one of the most common parasites in developing countries, especially in the tropical and subtropical areas. Annually about 50 million people are infected of which 100,000 die as a result of the infection. Typically, the pathogen is transmitted through the faecal-oral route. In this way the infectious cysts are absorbed. By reaching the small intestine, they develop into the vegetative trophozoites that subsequently colonize the colon. Through invasion of the parasite from the gut lumen into the colon mucosa, 10% of infected patients develop an invasive amoebiasis. The incubation period is highly variable, therefore the incubation can take a few days but also months or even years. In case of an intestinal amoebiasis the incubation period generally takes 1-4 weeks.
Clinical symptoms of an intestinal amoebiasis are crampy abdominal pain accompanied by nausea and severe diarrhea with bloody and mucous stool. During acute dysentery, extraintestinal complications such as liver abscesses may occur caused by haematogenic spread which can lead to death if left untreated.
After infection with Entamoeba histolytca, specific antibodies are formed against the pathogen as a result of the response from the immune system. By using immunological methods, it is possible to determine those antibodies in the serum. Apart from the appropriate choice of the pathogen-specific antigen, also the selected test method has a great impact on the result of the test.
Manufacturer’s Reagent package insert, RIDASCREEN Entamoeba histolytica IgG, 2016-06-10, R-Biopharm AG, An der neuen BergstraBe 17, 64297 Darmstadt, Germany.