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What is a Giardiasis Disease? Causes and Symptoms of Giardiasis.

Giardiasis is also called

Beaver fever

. The disease giardiasis causes diarrheal infection of the small intestine. The disease is caused by a protozoa Giardia lamblia, also called

G. intestinalis

. The disease spreads through contaminated food and water. It is one of the most common water-borne diarrhea outbreaks.

Travelers who travel to developing countries mostly get affected by giardiasis infection. Giardiasis disease occurs worldwide. 20,000 cases have been reported from the US alone. The prevalence of this disease in the developing countries is nearly 20 to 30%, while in developed countries, it ranges from 2-7%.

Giardiasis Symptoms:

Some infected people show no symptoms, but they pass cysts in their stools which can infect other people. Others can develop acute diarrheal illness and symptoms appear after 1-2 weeks of ingesting the cysts. Giardiasis includes the following symptoms –

  • Acute diarrheal illness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Flatulence
  • Sulfur-tasting burps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Rashes
  • Malabsorption
  • Chronic diarrheal illness can lead to greasy, foul smelling and yellowish stools. Abdominal pains get worsen with eating, headaches and weight loss.

Causes of Giardiasis:

Cysts of Giardia can be transmitted to humans in various ways –

  • Contaminated water supplies

    – The disease commonly spreads through contaminated water.

  • Contaminated food

    – Food that may have been washed in contaminated water or exposed to manure can transmit the disease.

  • Poor hygiene

    – The disease can occur due to contact with an infected person and poor hygiene.

  • The transmission of disease can also occur through saliva, cough, air, fecal-oral route, blood, needles, sexual contact, blood transfusions and mother to fetus etc.

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