Medical records, for 2000 and 2001, of symptomatic amoebic patients who were treated at our hospitals in Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka were studied retrospectively for the purpose of gathering epidemiological data on symptomatic Entamoeba histolytica infection. A total of 58 patients were treated. Fifty-five of them were male, and 96% of the male patients were Japanese. The mean age of patients was 44·9 years old, and 91% of patients contracted the disease in Japan. Fifty-six per cent of the male patients indicated that they were practising homosexuals, and 44% of the male patients denied these practices or left the question unanswered. The serum Treponema pallidum haemagglutination test was positive in 45% of the patients, and antibody to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was positive in 45%. Our study revealed that recent symptomatic E. histolytica infection almost exclusively afflicted middle-aged males in the big cities of Japan, that a majority of the patients were probably exposed to the causative organism during homosexual activity, and that an increasing number of patients will be co-infected with HIV.
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