Giardiasis

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection, caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia.

Infection occurs via contaminated water or food, or through direct contact with infected stools.

There are often no symptoms, but the following symptoms can sometimes develop one to two weeks after infection: 

  • Diarrhoea (without fever and without blood or pus), sometimes continuous, sometimes alternating with periods with no symptoms 
  • Gas formation 
  • Fatty, smelly stools 
  • Lack of appetite or nausea 
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sometimes mild fever

The symptoms can persist for weeks or months, but usually disappear without requiring treatment. 

Risk areas

Giardiasis occurs all over the world, but the risk is higher in the tropics, particularly when staying in poor hygienic conditions.

Prevention

Food and drinks

The measures to ensure safe consumption of food and drinks  will reduce the risk.

Vaccine

There is no vaccine available.

In case of symptoms

Seek medical advice if you suffer any symptoms.

Emergency treatment of giardiasis 

  • Take four tablets of tinidazole (Fasigyn®) in one dose. Do not drink alcohol for 48 hours after taking the tablets.
  • Also refer to the treatment of traveller’s diarrhoea

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