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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of giardiasis

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of giardiasis

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of giardiasis

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of giardiasis

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

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Giardiasis is an acute intestinal infection caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia. It is characterised by gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Incidence, age and sex

Giardiasis is usually seen in places where sanitation practices are poor and hygiene is inadequate. It is especially common in hikers and campers. All individuals including children and adults may be afflicted with this infection.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of Giardiasis generally appear after a week or two of exposure. The most prominent symptom is the increased frequency of loose stools (also called diarrhoea) which is accompanied with abdominal cramps in most of the individuals. Other features which are less commonly encountered are mild fever, headache and nausea.

The affected individual may show signs of dehydration if diarrhoea is severe and persistent. Such signs constitute dryness of the mouth, sunken eyes, dry and pinched skin, lethargy, diminished urine output and palpitations. A detailed history and examination may help in detecting the parasitic infection which can be confirmed by isolating the offending parasite in stool culture.

Causes and prevention

Giardiasis is caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia which is a unicellular parasite commonly found in the contaminated water supply of lakes and ponds in mountainous areas. Therefore campers and hikers are especially susceptible to get this intestinal infection. It is a water-borne diarrhoeal illness which spreads in the population through the ingestion of contaminated water.

Complications

Giardiasis is usually a mild to moderate disease which requires immediate and adequate replenishment with fluids. However in certain individuals, where water loss from body is abundant, dehydration may ensue. If dehydration is not managed timely, it may worsen leading to electrolyte imbalance, occasional seizures or even death. Longstanding infection may progress to malabsorption and loss of weight.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for giardiasis treatment >

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