MICROBE OF THE MONTH: Giardia lamblia

April 2004 
Volume 34  Number 4
Pages 76 - 76
  PDF Version Available!


  • Figure. No caption a...

    Type of microbe: one-celled, protozoan parasite that lives in the small intestines of animals and humans

    Infection caused: acute giardiasis, a diarrheal illness, usually occurs 1 to 3 weeks after a person ingests Giardia cysts. Cysts are found in soil, food, water (from municipal supplies, wells, lakes, and swimming pools), and on surfaces contaminated with feces from an infected human or animal. The illness may also be spread by direct contact with an infected human or animal.

    Signs and symptoms: diarrhea, greasy stool, fever, abdominal cramps, anorexia, nausea, weakness, weight loss, abdominal distension, flatulence, belching, dehydration, and occasional vomiting. Symptoms can resolve spontaneously; however, they usually last 2 to 6 weeks or longer. Some infected patients are asymptomatic.

    Lab tests: Direct examination and concentration method detect parasite antigen or cysts in feces; trophozoites (the ...

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