Know how you can get Giardiasis

Helena V Berbie

Giardiasis is a common diarrhoeal disease, predominantly found at the commencement of monsoon. It is a parasitic disease caused by the parasite Giardia duodenalis, also known as Giardia lamblia and Giardia intestinalis. Giardia infects the small intestine which later causes diarrhoea. Giardia can be found in every region of the earth.

Giardiasis can be spread by swallowing food or water contaminated with giardia, having close contact with giardiasis infected person, transferring giardia germs picked up from bathroom handles, changing tables and toys.

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In case of Bangladesh, giardia can be spread by swallowing water from the ponds, lakes, rivers or streams. Most of the villagers use pond or stream water for drinking, bathing and other household works. Children are the most vulnerable group to giardiasis.

The most common symptoms of giardiasis include diarrhoea, bloating, foul-smelling, greasy faeces that can float, stomach cramps or pain, upset stomach or nausea, fever, itchy skin, hives, and swelling of the eyes and joints, and Dehydration. It also may cause weight loss. The symptoms generally begin by having 2 to 5 loose stools per day.

To prevent and control giardiasis there is no alternative to maintain personal hygiene. It is important to wash your hands before eating and preparing food and after using the toilet.

Hand washing helps to reduce the risk of getting giardiasis. Try to avoid drinking water from ponds, lakes or rivers. These water sources can be contaminated with giardia germs which may infect you and your family. Teach your children to avoid swallowing water while swimming in the ponds, lakes, rivers, streams or springs. Drink only clean and safe drinking water. Wash vegetables and fruits properly before eating. Maintain all the hygiene measures and lead a healthy life.

The writer is a student at the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Technology, Faculty of Biological Science, Islamic University, Bangladesh. E-mail: [email protected]


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