Giardiasis is a gastrointestinal infection that causes diarrhea. It is caused
by a parasite called Giardia lamblia, or Giardia
What is going on in the body?
Giardiasis occurs all over the world. The infection is found in the stool of an
infected person or animal. It can be excreted into the environment. The
parasite has a protective shell that allows it to live for long periods of time
in the environment. It can be found in drinking water and in recreational
bodies of water, such as lakes. Giardiasis is the most common waterborne
disease in the United States.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
Giardiasis is spread by contact with the parasite that causes the
infection. The parasite can be found in food, water, soil, and other surfaces
contaminated by stool from an infected person. A person can be infected in
accidentally swallowing stool from surfaces, such as bathroom fixtures and
eating contaminated food, especially raw fruits and vegetables
ingesting stool from dirty diapers, diaper pails, or changing tables
ingesting the parasite during oral-anal or oral-genital sex
swallowing infected water from swimming pools, lakes, hot tubs, fountains,
using a contaminated drinking water source
using poor hygiene after handling feces of an infected person