Amebic colitis masquerading as acute inflammatory bowel disease: the role of serology in its diagnosis

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1989 Aug;11(4):407-10. doi: 10.1097/00004836-198908000-00012.


Amebic colitis needs to be considered in the differential diagnosis of infectious colitis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Misdiagnosing amebic colitis as idiopathic inflammatory disease may be fatal. Although stool studies remain the initial approach to diagnosis, the incidence of false-negatives associated with this method is high. We report two cases of amebic colitis presenting as inflammatory bowel disease in which the diagnosis of amebic colitis was made by serology. Neither patient had any risk factors for acquiring amebiasis. Paired serology for amebic infections (2-4 weeks apart) should be performed in patients being evaluated for infectious colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / analysis
  • Counterimmunoelectrophoresis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dysentery, Amebic / diagnosis*
  • Entamoeba histolytica / immunology
  • Female
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged


  • Antibodies, Protozoan