Giardiasis is a frequent cause of non-bacterial diarrhea in North America. Giardia lamblia is a parasite. The parasites might be found in food and water. People who ingest contaminated food with giardia may get sick. The illness caused by giardia is called giardiasis.
The parasites might be found in food and water. People who ingest contaminated food with giardia may get sick. The illness caused by giardia is called giardiasis. Some cases with Giardia have no symptoms, but others have diarrhea, cramps, smelly gas, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Giardia can be passed from person to person through direct contact. On the farm, the crops can be contaminated if watered with water containing this parasite. Giardia is infective and most resistant when in a cyst stage. Reservoirs for Giardia are infected humans or other wild and domestic animals.
Reservoirs & Transmission
Symptoms & Complications
Giardiasis may lead to malabsorption of vitamins, protein, and iron, in the intestines. Malabsorption could cause chronic infections. This fact is due to the absence of IgA. Immunoglobulin A is an antibody in the lining mucous of the stomach and its role is to fight and block bacteria and viruses once they are in this anatomical location. Other complications are severe loss of fluids and weight loss. An interesting fact is that 40% of the people who have been diagnosed with Giardiasis develop disaccharide intolerance up to six months after the infection has been resolved.
Giardiasis prevalence is higher in children than in adults between the age of 2 to 5 years old. Adults who recreate outdoors for hunting and camping may ingest contaminated with giardia water are also vulnerable.
Prevention /Wash your Hand
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. Keep in mind, that sanitizers do not kill all types of germs. If your hands are visibly dirty, soap them and then use a sanitizer. They also might not remove chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals from your hands.
The presented information is an extract from the World Health Organization (2008). Foodborne Disease Outbreaks: Guidelines for Investigation and Control. Geneva, Switzerland, 2008