A Case of Ulcerative Colitis with Superadded E. histolytica Infection


Dr. Ajay Kumar    04 November 2017

Lab tests showed hemoglobin Hb 11.8 g dL white blood cell count 9 500 mm3 C reactive protein CRP 50 mg L erythrocyte sedimentation rate ESR 15 mm hour and serum albumin 3.2 g dL. Stool samples were negative for ova and parasites on routine microscopy. Three sequential stool cultures were negative for any infective pathology. She was put on intravenous IV steroid treatment but despite IV steroids the diarrhea worsened and became bloody. Colonoscopy was done which showed inflammation bleeding and friability of the mucosa from the rectum to beyond the sigmoid colon. Multiple biopsies taken from the rectum and sigmoid colon showed focal flask shaped mucosal ulceration due to invasive amebiasis and Entamoeba histolytica parasites were evident. Steroids were discontinued and the patient was put on metronidazole 750 mg thrice daily for 10 days followed by oral diloxanide furoate 500 mg thrice daily for 10 days. Her symptoms resolved and the patient was put on 5 ASA as maintenance treatment.


Ulcerative colitis with superadded E. histolytica infection.


Amebiasis is infection of the human gastrointestinal tract by E. histolytica a protozoan parasite that is capable of invading the intestinal mucosa and may spread to other organs mainly the liver.1 Intestinal amebiasis is still an important health problem in developing regions of the world.2 There are four clinical forms of invasive intestinal amebiasis all of which are generally acute Dysentery or bloody diarrhea fulminating colitis amebic appendicitis and ameboma of the colon. Dysenteric and diarrheic syndromes account for 90 of cases of invasive intestinal amebiasis.1 The chief complaint of patients with infectious colitis is diarrhea. Because the symptom is sometimes accompanied by bloody stool it is important to distinguish the infectious colitis from UC. However diagnosis can be complicated by the fact that inflammatory bowel disease IBD patients may have an accompanying infection as well.3 A recent study in Turkey showed that ameba infection in patients with IBD especially those with UC is more prevalent than in the normal population.4 The presence of intestinal protozoa infections could be a contributing cause of persistent activity despite medical treatment in our population.5

Stool microscopy is a relatively poor method for diagnosing intestinal amebiasis because it is time consuming laborious and requires specific expertise. Culture methods are often unrewarding with a sensitivity of only about 50 .1 Sigmoidoscopy and or colonoscopy can be performed either to diagnose amebiasis or to exclude other causes of the patients symptoms. Microscopy may reveal cysts or trophozoites in scrapings or biopsies which are best taken from the edge of ulcers.6

Patients with documented UC in clinical remission also can develop acute infectious colitis and present with symptoms of a flare of UC. Thus infections need to be excluded with each episode of disease exacerbation. 7 Amebiasis should be sought and treated in every patient with UC.6


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  3. Jung SA. Differential diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease what is the role of colonoscopy Clin Endosc 2012 45 3 254 62.
  4. Ustun S Dagci H Aksoy U et al. Prevalence of amebiasis in inflammatory bowel disease in Turkey. World J Gastroenterol 2003 9 8 1834 5.
  5. Yamamoto Furusho JK Torijano Carrera E. Intestinal protozoa infections among patients with ulcerative colitis prevalence and impact on clinical disease course. Digestion 2010 82 1 18 23.
  6. Addib O Ziglam H Conlong P. Invasive amebiasis complicating inflamma tory bowel disease. Libyan J Med 2007 2 4 214 5. 7. Thukral A Tiwari DN Tripathi K. Ulcerative colitis presenting as toxic megacolon. J Assoc Physicians India 2010 58 519.

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