Giardiasis: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:40 by admin
Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia), a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of people and animals. Its symptoms include, but may not be limited to, diarrhea, loose or watery stools, stomach cramps, and upset stomach. Some people have no symptoms.

Millions of Giardia germs can be released in a bowel movement from an infected human or animal. Giardia may be found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans or animals. Giardia is not spread by contact with blood. You can become infected by swallowing recreational water contaminated with Giardia. Recreational water includes swimming pools, hot tubs, jacuzzis, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, or streams that can be contaminated with sewage or feces from humans or animals. Giardiasis can also result from eating uncooked food contaminated with Giardia or by accidentally swallowing Giardia picked up from surfaces (toys, bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails) contaminated with stool from an infected person. Persons at increased risk for giardiasis include child care workers; children who attend day care centers, including diaper-aged children; international travelers; hikers; campers, swimmers; and others who drink or accidentally swallow water from contaminated sources. Several community-wide outbreaks of giardiasis have been linked to drinking municipal water or recreational water contaminated with Giardia.

Giardisis' symptoms generally begin 1-2 weeks after being infected. In otherwise healthy persons, symptoms may last 2-6 weeks but occasionally last longer.

See Also

  1. Infections
  2. Food Products & Restaurants
  3. Giardia: Overview
  4. Pool Accidents
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