How to Prevent Amebiasis

Amebiasis is a parasitic infection most commonly caused by Entamoeba histolytica. The parasite may cause both intestinal and extra-intestinal disease. Intestinal disease manifests as fever, chills, bloody or mucoid diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, or alternating diarrhea with constipation.

Amebiasis is ubiquitous and typically transmits by the fecal-oral route. Here are steps to help avoid getting this infection.


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    Strengthen your immune system. Your first defence is your immune system and keeping it in excellent shape will help to prevent an infection from Entameoba histolytica:[1]
    • Drink enough pure water per day to keep you properly hydrated.
    • Eat plenty of fiber from fresh fruit, vegetables, and grains.
    • Don't dilute your stomach acid – it destroys most bugs. Avoid using antacids and baking soda (neat) where possible and don't drink liquid right before, during, or after a meal.
    • Take vitamins if you're not getting sufficient amounts from your food. Nourish the digestive system with a daily multivitamin, plenty of zinc and vitamin A.
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    Take care when traveling. In the USA, a study in the early 2000s showed that over 50 percent of people infected by parasites had picked them up during their travels.[2] Be very careful about where you source your food and water from and reassure yourself of its cleanliness. Also be careful about where you swim.
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    Practice good hygiene. Good hygiene is a key way to prevent contacting amebiasis, whether you're at home or traveling:
    • Always wash your hands with soap and warm running water for at least 10 seconds after defecation and after changing baby diapers.
    • Always wash your hands with soap and warm running water before preparing or eating food. Also scrub your fingernails prior to food preparation.[3]
    • Clean toilet seats before using, especially in public bathrooms. Use alcohol wipes or commercial toilet wipes made for the purpose.
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    Take care with water sources. Do not drink untreated water contaminated by feces. Boil water of undetermined quality prior to drinking, or use bottled water if you cannot be sure of the water's quality, especially when travelling.
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    Be aware of and implement safe food handling and eating practices. Avoid eating unpeeled or uncooked fruits or vegetables of questionable quality. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, peel fruits, and boil vegetables prior to eating.
    • Boiling food above 50ºC or 122ºF will kill E. histolytica cysts.
    • Keep fruits and vegetables dry during storage. E. histolytica cysts are killed by desiccation.
    • Avoid dining at public places that appear unclean or that have questionable sanitary practices. Do not share sauces in one container with others in a party.
    • Be careful of salad bars, as salads can harbor the parasite.
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    Control flies. Flies can carry the parasites. Protect foods against fly contamination by shielding them with a cover.
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    Dispose of all human feces in a sanitary manner. If you have a garden near a septic tank, ensure that the tank is fully contained, not leaking, and is regularly emptied by trained personnel. If you're camping, keep all human waste activities well away from cooking and sleeping areas.


  • Educate others, especially known carriers, about the importance of personal hygiene to prevent transmission.
  • Those working at childcare centres and hospitals have an increased risk of coming into contact with parasites.
  • Washing hands in cold water is better than not washing them at all.


  • Use of chemoprophylactic agents, taking drugs to prevent infections, is ill-advised.
  • Do not use disinfectants dips for fruits and vegetables: they have unproved value in preventing amebiasis and might harm you.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap and warm water
  • Bottled water (optional)
  • Clarity as to sanitary standards of dining out facilities

Sources and Citations

  • The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Amebiasis, pp. 1135-1136, (2003), ISBN 978-0-7434-7733-8 – research source.
  1. Kenneth A Bock, Steven J Bock, and Nancy Faass, The Germ Survival Guide, pp. 58-59, (2003), ISBN 0-07-140045-1
  2. Kenneth A Bock, Steven J Bock, and Nancy Faass, The Germ Survival Guide, p. 58, (2003), ISBN 0-07-140045-1
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