Giardiasis occurs almost everywhere in the world, including in Uzbekistan where access to clean water is limited and sanitation is poor. A majority of our patients use bottled water, but eating outside (restaurants, café) increases the chance of possible contamination with cysts from infected food.
Children who have unhealthy habits such as sucking fingers, pencils, pens, nail biting can get cysts from it.
What is giardiasis?
Giardiasis is caused by microscopic parasites known as giardia intensinalis. The parasites live in the intestines of humans and animals. In most cases, the parasites cause no symptoms, and many people have no idea that they are infected. The most common way that a person can become infected with giardiasis is by drinking water that is contaminated with the giardia intestinal parasite. Less commonly, giardiasis is spread when an infected person does not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, and then transfers the parasites onto surfaces, utensils or food. Anyone who touches infected surfaces, uses infected utensils, or eats contaminated food can transfer the parasites into their mouth and cause an infection.
-loss of appetite
-low-grade fever, i.e. a temperature of 37-38ºC (98.6-100. 4ºF).
These initial symptoms are usually followed by repeated bouts of watery, foul smelling diarrhea.
You may also experience:
-belching (burping); the belches are often unpleasant smelling,
-abdominal pain and cramping.
Giardiasis can be diagnosed by checking your stool samples for giardia cysts. This is usually done in a laboratory.
How can giardiasis be prevented?
Giardiasis can often be prevented by practicing good hygiene and taking some common sense precautions. The advice below explains the most effective way to prevent giardiasis.
Wash your hands
- after going to toilet,
- after changing a nappy, and
- before handling and eating food.
Wash your hands with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, making sure that you clean both the front and back of your hands. Then rinse your hands and dry them with a clean towel.
Make sure your drinking water is safe
Preventing the spread of infection
If you are diagnosed with giardiasis, it is very important that you take some precautions in order to prevent other members of your household from becoming infected. You should:
-wash your hands regularly,
-do not cook or handle food that is to be eaten by other members of your household, -avoid sharing utensils or towels.