Giardia lamblia is a flagellated enteric protozoan parasite that is found in soil, food, and water (“Giardia lamblia” sec 1). This microorganism tends to live in the small intestines of humans. G. lamblia has two separate morphological stages. The first morphological stage is the trophozoite stage. In the trophozoite stage, this microorganism is shaped like a flattened pear. During this stage, the microbe is about ten to twelve micrometers long and about five to seven micrometers wide. Bilaterally the microbe is symmetrical and has two separate nuclei present. On the anterior side of the organism, there is a large sucking disk. This disk is the mechanism by which the parasite attaches to the mucosa of the host (“Morphology” par 1).
The second morphological stage of G. lamblia is the cyst form. The cyst is generally egg-shaped and measures eight to fourteen micrometers in length. The width of the cyst is ...view middle of the document...
Once cysts of G. lamblia have entered the human body, symptoms of giardiasis many appear as early as three days after exposure. Symptoms may also not manifest themselves for up to twenty-five days after exposure. As little as ingestion of just ten cysts is enough to cause giardiasis. Some common symptoms of giardiasis are diarrhea, pale greasy stools, stomach cramps, gas, nausea, vomiting, foul smelling diarrhea, fever, rash, and joint pain (“Conditions Factsheet: Giardiasis” par 6).
Although some healthy people do not get sick from G. lamblia, they can still pass the infection to others (“Conditions Factsheet: Giardiasis” par 3). Certain individuals are at a greater risk for an infection of G. lamblia. Travelers that visit countries in which giardiasis is common are at a high risk. Individuals in a childcare setting are also at an increased risk. Males who engage in sexual intercourse with other males also have a higher risk of being infected with G. lamblia (Parasites – Giardia sec 2).
To prevent an infection of G. lamblia, a practice of good hygiene is essential. Hand washing is a very effective way to prevent the transmission of G. lamblia. Another preventative measure is to avoid water, either drinking or recreational, that may have been contaminated. Food with any potential of being contaminated should also be avoided. During any anal sexual encounter, caution should also be used in order to avoid feces contamination (Parasites – Giardia sec 7).
Once a Giardia infection has been contracted, several drugs can be used to treat the illness. Some common medications used to treat this illness are metronidazole, tinidazolem nitazoxanide, paromomycin, quinacrine, and furazolidone (Parasite – Giardia sec 6). It is also not uncommon for this infection to go away on it’s own in about a month. However, treatment with antibiotics shortens the duration of the illness. While undergoing the recovery process, proper hydration is also critical. Dehydration is very common with diarrhea when vital electrolytes are lost through watery feces (“Conditions Factsheet: Giardiasis” par 11) .