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Amebiasis, also known as amebic dysentery, is one of the most common parasitic diseases occurring in humans, with an estimated 500 million new cases each year. It occurs most frequently in tropical and subtropical areas where living conditions are crowded, with inadequate sanitation. Although most cases of amebiasis occur in persons who carry the disease but do not exhibit any symptoms (asymptomatic), as many as 100,000 people die of amebiasis each year. In the United States, between 1 and 5% of the general population will develop amebiasis in any given year, while male homosexuals, migrant workers, institutionalized people, and recent immigrants develop amebiasis at a higher rate. Human beings are the only known host of the amebiasis organism, and all groups of people, regardless of age or sex, can become affected. Amebiasis is primarily spread in food and water that has been contaminated by human feces but is also spread by person-to-person contact. The number of cases is typically limited, but regional outbreaks can occur in areas where human feces are used as fertilizer for crops, or in cities with water supplies contaminated with human feces.

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