Giardiasis is a protozoan infection that is one of the most prevalent causes of diarrhea. It has been recognized in approximately 100 countries in various parts of the world. Isolated cases and even epidemics of this illness have occurred in the United States. Beavers are the main carriers of this parasite, which is transmitted by water supplies contaminated with the excrement of beavers. Cysts of these protozoa are removed by sand filters, but also require chlorination. They are also killed by heating to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) or by chemicals that contain iodine.
The usual symptoms are diarrhea with watery, foul-smelling stools, abdominal distension and pain, and loss of weight. In most cases symptoms are mild to severe, lasting from a few days to a period of weeks, though occasionally there are no symptoms at all. In many persons both parasites and symptoms disappear without treatment. Identifying the causative organism under the microscope makes the diagnosis. Your physician will prescribe and appropriate and effective medication which you can tolerate.
Giardia lives inside the intestines of infected humans or other animals. Individuals become infected through ingesting or coming into contact with contaminated food, soil, or water. The Giardia parasite originates from contaminated items and surfaces that have been tainted by the feces of an infected animal.