What Is Giardia

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Giardia SCI/162 March 4, 2012 Giardia What is Giardia Giardiasis is an infection of the small intestine caused by a microscopic organism (protozoa), Giardia lamblia. It was initially named Cercomonas intestinalis by Lamble in 1859. Giardia lamblia is a single cell animal. It moves with the help of five flagella. Flagella are long structures that act like propellers that help move fluid across tissue cells in animals. Giardia is known as Giardia intestinalis or Giardia doudenalis also. Cysts are responsible for the transmission of Giardiasis. In the diagnostic stages, cysts and trophozoites can be found in the feces. Person-to-person transmission is possible because the cysts are infectious when passed in the stool and for a period after. Cysts not only hardy but also can survive in cold water for several months. Giardia survives for long periods outside the body because it has a protective shell around it. This also makes Giardia tolerant to chlorine disinfection. How Giardia is Transmitted Giardiasis is commonly transmitted through contaminated water. There has been known outbreaks that linked back to contaminated food by infected food handlers. There is a possibility that eating raw vegetables can transmit infections. Drinking water from lakes or streams where animals live in the water and contaminate it, such as muskrats and beavers or domestic animals like cows, puts people at risk, as it is a likely place to be contaminated. Hikers should always consider the water contaminated when hiking. It is spread by direct person-to-person contact, which makes nursing homes and daycares high risks for outbreaks. If a family member or a close friend is infected this will put you at risk. Giardiasis is transmitted though unprotected anal sex, making men who have sex with men at high risk for the infection. Symptoms, Duration and Treatment

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