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Fulminant amebic colitis.

Amebiasis is the acute and chronic disease produced by Entamoeba histolytica, an entity which occurs in endemic fashion in many of the tropical and subtropical areas of the world, capable of affecting diverse organs of the body, especially the colon. Amebiasis has different clinical forms of presentation, varying from the asymptomatic carrier state to severe, although not frequent, fulminant or necrotizing colitis, characteristically associated with high morbidity and mortality. We hereby report a series of 50 adult patients with fulminating amebic colitis managed at our institution between January, 1971 and July, 1989, with a global mortality of 60%. Early diagnosis, treatment with effective antiamebic agents--specifically metronidazole--and opportune aggressive surgical intervention have resulted in better survival rates. We had no survivors prior to 1970; our current survival rate is still a dismal 40%, indicating the very severe nature of the disease.

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