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Giardia lamblia, found in contaminated water, infecting the small bowel.

Sex or Age most Affected

All ages, but most common in children.

Signs & Symptons

  • Sudden diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Some children may have only indigestion and mild diarrhea.
  • Loose, bulky, foul smelling stools.
  • Slight fever (uncommon).
  • Listless child with reduced appetite
  • Protruding abdomen


Giardia parasites enter the body through contaminated food or water, and multiply in the small intestine. Local inflammation, causing diarrhea and other symptoms, occurs in 1 to 3 weeks.

Risk Increases With

  • Those living in crowded or unsanitary conditions, especially substandard water supply and poor sanitation system.
  • Drinking water from rivers streams etc.


  • Either boil or treat water with commercial water purifier.
  • Avoid uncooked foods that may have been rinsed in contaminated water.
  • Wash hands often, especially before meals, to avoid catching infection from other persons.
  • Avoid eating uncovered / unheated food from road side vendors
  • Practice careful personal hygiene if you have diarrhea

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor. Specify travel history.
  • Laboratory stool studies to detect parasites. May need to be repeated if early studies are negative.

Possible Complications

  • Chronic bowel inflammation.
  • Malabsorption and weight loss.
  • Dehydration.
  • Irregular / incomplete medication delays recovery.



Don’t use non-prescription drugs for gastrointestinal problems. These can mask symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe some antiparasitic drug, which is very effective.
Since stool examinations are frequently false-positive, your doctor may treat on the basis of clinical history and examination.