Giardiasis is an illness caused by a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of people and animals. Giardia may be found in soil, food, water or on surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces from an infected human or animal. Giardiasis is the most frequent cause of nonbacterial diarrhea.
The symptoms of giardiasis generally appear one to two weeks after a person is infected. Symptoms include:
Symptoms usually last two to six weeks but can sometimes last longer. Some children with giardiasis may not exhibit symptoms of the illness. Good hand washing by caregivers after diaper changes and good hand washing after using the bathroom will minimize the spread of giardiasis.
Doctors at Riley at IU Health diagnose giardiasis by examining a sample of fresh stool. All internationally adopted children should have their stool tested for parasites like Giardia and their eggs. This test is called an ova and parasite exam.
If your child has giardiasis or symptoms of the illness, he or she will likely require treatment with a medicine. Metronidazole is the medicine most commonly used to treat giardiasis.
Infected people should avoid swimming in recreational water such as pools and lakes for at least two weeks after the diarrhea subsides. Giardia can be passed in the stool and can contaminate water for several weeks, even after symptoms have ended.
Visit the trusted websites below to learn more about giardiasis.
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