Giardia : Beware of It!
Summary: Giardia lamblia is a protozoan parasite that causes the infection Giardiasis. It is found mainly in soil, food, water and contaminated surfaces. One must maintain hygiene to be away from this microorganism. If infected, one should take immediate medical treatment.
Giardiasis is an infection that is caused by the microorganism Giardia lamblia. The target site of this organism is the small intestine. Giardia lamblia is a protozoan and is parasitic by nature. It can be found in soil, food, water and surfaces of contaminated waste.
The main symptom of the disease is diarrhea. Other symptoms that are commonly found are passing gas, greasy stools, stomach cramps, upset stomach and nausea. These symptoms tend to cause depletion of body fluids and loss of body weight. Symptoms can last for duration of two to six weeks. In some cases, the microorganism exhibits no symptoms. Infected person has to take several drugs to get rid of the microorganism.
Prevention is better than cure. To prevent oneself from being affected by this disease, one has to maintain good hygiene, wash hands frequently, drink uncontaminated water, and wash the fruits and vegetables properly before consuming them. Many cases of Giardiasis are caused by person-to-person transmission. Therefore, if individuals infected by Giardiasis do not take precautions, then it can spread to others in contact.
The identification of the disease can be done by observing the formation of trophozoites or cyst formation in the stool of infected patients. They can be examined through stool ova and parasite examination. Stool antigen enzyme linked immunosorbent assays can also be used for the identification of trophozoites or cyst formation. To check whether one is infected by Giardia lamblia, one has to subject oneself to biomedical tests such as enteroscopy, stool antigen test, stool ova and parasite exam, and string test. Giardiasis infection can affect the result of other tests such as D-Xylose absorption, small bowel tissue biopsy, and smear of duodenal aspirated fluid.
The parasite Giardia lamblia attaches itself to the inner lining of the small intestine and disrupts the absorption of carbohydrates and fats from the digested foods. The microorganism Giardia lambia can survive in pure water containing normal amount of chlorine and can last for 2 months in cold water. Strict precautions should be taken when drinking water because even 10 numbers of the parasitic microorganism can cause the disease Giardiasis in human beings.
The drugs that are generally used for the treatment of Giardiasis are nitroimidazoles, quinacrine, furazolidone, benzimidazoles, paromomycin, and bacitracin zinc. The derivatives of the above drugs are also popularly used for the treatment of Giardiasis. Public should take proper precautions and avoid being infected by the microorganism Giardia lamblia.