Amoebiasis Cluster Infection in a Mental Retardation Institute, Tainan City

Ya-Lin Liu1, Jen-Te Wang1, Yu-San Chien1, Yi-Chun Wu2, Sheng-Che Lin3, Horng-Ying Chiou1,Yeong-Sheng Lee1

2011 Vol.27 NO.11

Correspondence Author: Ya-Lin Liu

  • 1. Fourth Branch, Centers for Diseases Control, Taiwan
  • 2. Chief Secretary Office,Centers for Diseases Control, Taiwan
  • 3. Tainan City Health Bureau


In March 2011, a cluster infection of amebic dysentery has occurred in one mental retardation institute located in Tainan City. Initial physical examination for the 39 residents and 20 employees found one resident without diarrhea was positive for Entamoeba histolytica microscopically. He was then confirmed as a case of amebic dysentery by Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (TCDC) using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. To clarify the infection scale, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and PCR test were performed for all members in the institute. Results showed 12 other residents were infected, but no hospital staff was involved. In total, 13 amoebiasis cases in the institute were confirmed with 22% attack rate. Patients in the institute for mentally handicapped have difficulty in dealing with their own personal hygiene and explaining their health problems, so it is a challenge for health management and infection control in the institute. Good living environment and sanitation, surveillance on common fever and diarrhea, annual physical examination, medical clearance of the mentally ill person prior to admission, and pre-employment health check-up are effective measurements to prevent the attack of gastrointestinal infection.