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August 1967

Amebiasis: The Hazards of Surgical Intervention in Unsuspected Amebic Disease

Author Affiliations

Big Springs, Tex
From the Division of Pathology, Veterans Administration Hospital, Big Springs, Tex. Dr. Torres is now at the Veterans Administration Hospital, St. Louis.

Arch Surg. 1967;95(2):249-252. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1967.01330140087020

AMEBIASIS has a cosmopolitan distribution, but more frequently it is found in tropical and subtropical countries and areas with poor sanitation. In this country, 4% to 15% of the population harbor the Entamoeba histolytica in the intestine, but only a few develop clinical manifestation. Graig1 examined stools from 149 Army medical officers who had never been out of the United States and found 12.7% of the stools positive for E histolytica. Amebiasis follows ingestion of encysted E histolytica usually in drinking water,2-3 and from carriers who serve as food handlers. The amebic cyst, after passing through the unfavorable acid media of the stomach, dissolves its capsule in the alkaline contents of the small intestine. This produces three to four trophozoits, some of which are destroyed, while some others produce strong proteolytic enzymes and hyaluronidases capable of lysing the intestinal epithelium, allowing the amebic trophozoits to burrow through the

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