PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Giardiasis?
Giardiasis is an infection caused by a parasite that gets into the intestines. The parasite lays eggs that are passed out of the body with bowel movements.
How is it spread?
Giardiasis is spread to others by infected people who do not wash their hands after having a bowel movement or after changing soiled diapers. It can also be spread by contaminated food or water.
How is it treated?
If you have this disease, your doctor can prescribe medication. Make sure you take all of the medicine; do not stop taking the medicine even if you feel better. Testing stool samples after all the medication is taken will determine if you are free of parasites.
How can we prevent Giardiasis?
- Practice good hygiene and always wash your hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food.
- Prompt and proper treatment will help stop the spread of the parasite to other family members or in day care centers.
- Do not drink water from streams or lakes.
SYMPTOMS OF GIARDIASIS
A person with this disease may have:
- Frequent, loose and pale greasy stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Weight loss
- Severe gas (bloating)