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Giardia

What is giardia?
Where is giardia found?
What are the symptoms giardiasis?
How is giardia spread?
How can I keep from getting giardiasis?
If I’ve been exposed to giardia, how long will it take for symptoms to develop?
What treatments are available for giardiasis? How serious is the disease?
How many cases of giardiasis have been reported in Kentucky?
Where can I get more information on giardiasis?

What is giardia?
Giardia is a parasite that causes giardiasis. It is one of the most frequent causes of water-borne disease in both drinking water and recreational water in the United States.

Where is giardia found?
Giardia is found in the fecal matter of a person or animal that is infected with the parasite. Giardia is also found in waters that have been in contact with human feces or raw sewage. Giardia is found worldwide and in every region of the United States.

What are the symptoms giardiasis?
The symptoms of giardiasis include: diarrhea, flatulence, greasy stools that tend to float, abdominal cramps, upset stomach and nausea.
 
How is giardia spread?
Giardia can easily be spread through contact with the stool of an infected person.
 
Swimming pools are a common place for the spread of giardia. A person infected with giardia and suffering from diarrhea can infect others in the same pool. Giardia can stay alive for 45 minutes, even in properly chlorinated pools.

How can I keep from getting giardiasis?Diaper change

If I’ve been exposed to giardia, how long will it take for symptoms to develop?
The initial symptoms of giardiasis can occur between one and two weeks after exposure.

What treatments are available for giardiasis? How serious is the disease?
Plenty of fluids should be consumed throughout the duration of the illness to prevent dehydration. Prescription drugs are available to treat giardiasis. Giardiasis is usually not fatal, but can be for those with compromised immune systems.

How many cases of giardiasis have been reported in Kentucky?
Health care providers are not required to report cases of giardiasis to the Health Department; therefore, case numbers are unavailable.

Where can I get more information on giardiasis?
For more information online, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or call the Health Department at 859.363.2070.

Sources: Northern Kentucky Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention