IBS, Chronic Fatigue Risk Up Three Years Post Giardiasis

Acute giardiasis increases risk of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue after three years

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Three years after acute illness with Giardia lamblia, the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic fatigue is significantly higher than in a control population, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in Gut.

Knut-Arne Wensaas, from the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues estimated the relative risk of IBS and chronic fatigue in patients three years after acute giardiasis. Data were collected by mailed questionnaires from 817 patients with confirmed Giardia lamblia infection, and 1,128 matched controls from Norway during the October 2004 to December 2005 waterborne outbreak of giardiasis.

The investigators found that the prevalence of IBS in the exposed and control groups was 46.1 and 14 percent, respectively; while that of chronic fatigue was 46.1 and 12 percent, respectively (adjusted risk ratio [RR], 3.4 for IBS and 4.0 for chronic fatigue). IBS and chronic fatigue were correlated, with the exposed group having a RR of 6.8 for the combination of IBS and chronic fatigue. The RR for having one of the two syndromes was also increased, 1.8 and 2.2 for IBS and chronic fatigue, respectively.

"Infection with Giardia lamblia in a non-endemic area was associated with a high prevalence of IBS and chronic fatigue three years after acute illness, and the risk was significantly higher than in the control group. This shows that the potential consequences of giardiasis are more serious than previously known," the authors write.

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