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November 18, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(21):1639-1641. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.27430460006012b

Amebic dysentery, also called amebic colitis and enteritis, refers to infection of man by a protozoan parasite, Endamoeba histolytica. Originally considered a tropical disease, the infection is now frequently observed in the temperate zones. There are numerous carriers of the infection, and it has been estimated that from 5 to 10 per cent of the population may have the organism in their intestines. However, there seem to be variations in the infectiousness of the condition at various times, so that apparently certain epidemics may carry greater intensity of the infection and higher morbidity and mortality than others.

When the ameba invades the intestine, it burrows under the submucous coat and produces its harmful effects by destroying the tissue with which it is in contact. Cytolytic and hemolytic substances, according to Craig,1 have been extracted from cultures of the organism. In the tissue of the intestine and under favorable conditions