Prevalence and incidence of Entamoeba histolytica infection in South Africa and Egypt

William Stauffer, Mohamed Abd-Alla, Jonathan I. Ravdin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


There are little data on the true prevalence and incidence of Entamoeba histolytica infection in Africa. This is due to the inability, historically, to differentiate Entamoeba histolytica from the more common, but non-pathogenic, Entamoeba dispar. In addition, newer studies have demonstrated that the previous gold standard, culture with zymodeme analysis, is insensitive in detecting the presence of infection, especially when compared to PCR. Recent published articles as well as data from the authors' previous work are reviewed and summarized to elucidate what is known about prevalence and incidence of Entamoeba histolytica in Africa. The majority of data on asymptomatic infection are published from South Africa, Egypt and Cote d'Ivoire. Egypt has high rates of asymptomatic infection detected in the stool (>21%), whereas South Africa and Cote d'Ivoire rates range between 0 and 2%. Seroprevalence estimates the rate of recent infection, because anti-amebic antibodies generally persist for <5 years. Seropositivity rates (IgG, IgA) range from approximately 10 to 20%, indicating recent infection in this proportion of the population. Entamoeba histolytica infects a significant proportion of many populations of Africa; however, little data are currently available to indicate true prevalence and incidence. Further studies are needed to determine the burden of infection and disease in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-268
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Medical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Africa
  • Amebiasis
  • Egypt
  • Entamoeba dispar
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence
  • South Africa


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