Gut-Eating Amoeba Caught In Action

A gut-eating amoeba (green) nibbles on a live human cell (purple) under the microscope. The parasite chews on the cell before killing and discarding it.
This nasty gut-eating amoeba can wreak havoc in your intestinal tract and cause a dreadful case of food poisoning that may last months or years. Now scientists have figured out how this amoeba makes us sick. Its tactics are more nefarious than we thought.
The single-cell animal bites off tiny chunks of intestine, chews on them for a while and then spits them out. That’s right, folks, the little parasites — called Entamoeba histolytica — don’t even have the courtesy to kill your cells before they take a bite. They don’t even digest the parts they eat.

Credit: Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR

Gut-Eating Amoeba Caught In Action

A gut-eating amoeba (green) nibbles on a live human cell (purple) under the microscope. The parasite chews on the cell before killing and discarding it.

This nasty gut-eating amoeba can wreak havoc in your intestinal tract and cause a dreadful case of food poisoning that may last months or years. Now scientists have figured out how this amoeba makes us sick. Its tactics are more nefarious than we thought.

The single-cell animal bites off tiny chunks of intestine, chews on them for a while and then spits them out. That’s right, folks, the little parasites — called Entamoeba histolytica — don’t even have the courtesy to kill your cells before they take a bite. They don’t even digest the parts they eat.

Credit: Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR