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August 27, 1932


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Pacific. Institute of Tropical Medicine within the Hooper Foundation of the University of California Medical School.

JAMA. 1932;99(9):729. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27410610002008a

The diagnosis of amebiasis rests solely on the microscopic identification of the pathogenic ameba Endamoeba histolytica. This identification requires special technical skill and experience. An unqualifield technician is entirely unreliable and may be dangerous. Few laboratories and fewer physicians have available a properly qualified and reliable technician. Unless diagnosis can be made properly it is much safer not to attempt it at all.

Furthermore, ordinary stool specimens must be examined for amebic cysts within forty-eight hours as the chromatoidal bodies disappear and the cysts break up, so that positive observations become less as time progresses. A large percentage of patients with amebiasis, even in the absence of diarrhea, show motile amebas, together with cysts or alone. Motile amebas die quickly and only immediate examination of the fresh stool specimen will demonstrate them. It is always desirable to examine a series of specimens, at least covering six consecutive days. If the