Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Bed to Bench,
Vol. 1 No. 1 (2008),
5 May 2009,
Amebiasis is the infection of the human gastrointestinal tract by Entamoeba histolytica, a protozoan parasite that is capable of invading the intestinal mucosa and may spread to other organs, mainly the liver. The detection of Entamoeba histolytica from the nonpathogenic but identically appearing parasites Entamoeba dispar and Entamoeba moshkovskii is an important goal of the clinical microbiology laboratory. Currently, there is no low-cost laboratory test available for the differentiation of E. histolytica from E. dispar infections. It is likely that at least 90% of the infections previously ascribed to E. histolytica are actually E. dispar, while only the remaining 10% are infected with E. histolytica in its new sense. The present manuscript review recent advances in this regard. The purpose of this study is to alert physicians (and perhaps with their help, laboratories) to the importance of distinguishing between the two species of amoebae.