Entamoeba histolytica is one of the most common parasitic infections worldwide, infecting about 50 million people and resulting in 40 000–100 000 deaths a year. In Australia, people at risk of infection include immigrants, travellers returning from countries of high endemicity, Indigenous people, and men who have sex with men.
Surgical drainage is generally unnecessary in amoebic liver abscess, as cure can be achieved with medical therapy alone. The role of radiologically guided percutaneous therapeutic aspiration in uncomplicated amoebic liver abscess is controversial but it has been shown to be of some clinical benefit in patients with large abscesses. Most patients have a gradual illness onset days or weeks after infection. Symptoms include cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea, and weight loss and may last several weeks.
Culture methods are restricted to specialised parasitology research laboratories Antigen detection methods use monoclonal antibodies directed against various proteins of E. histolytica.