Amoebic liver abscess (patient information)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Yamuna Kondapally, M.B.B.S[2]


Amebic liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver in response to an intestinal parasite called Entamoeba histolytica.[1]

What causes amoebic liver abscess

  • Amebic liver abscess is caused by Entamoeba histolytica.
  • This parasite causes amebiasis, an intestinal infection that is also called amebic dysentery.
  • After an infection has occurred, the parasite may be carried by the blood from the intestines to the liver.
  • The disease spreads from eating food or water that has been contaminated with feces (sometimes due to the use of human waste as fertilizer).
  • It is also spread through person-to-person contact.
  • The infection occurs worldwide, but is most common in tropical areas where crowded living conditions and poor sanitation exist.
  • Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and India have significant health problems from this disease.

What are the symptoms of amoebic liver abscess ?

Symptoms of amoebic liver abscess include:

Who is at highest risk for amoebic liver abscess?

The following increases your chances of developing amoebic liver abscess:

When to seek urgent medical care?

Call your health care provider if:

  • You develop symptoms of amoebic liver abscess, especially if you have recently traveled to an area where the disease is known to occur.
  • You have amoebic liver abscess and the symptoms continue despite treatment.


Physical examination of abdomen along with the following tests can help in finding out amoebic liver abscess. Tests that may be done include:

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for amoebic liver abscess?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Amoebic liver abscess

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?[edit | edit source]

  • Without treatment, the abscess may break open (rupture) and spread into other organs, leading to death.
  • People who are treated have a very high chance of a complete cure or only minor complications.

Possible complications


When traveling in tropical countries with poor sanitation, drink purified water and do not eat uncooked vegetables or unpeeled fruit.


  1. Amoebic liver abscess> Accessed on March 7, 2017