May also be called: Giardia Intestinalis, Giardia Lamblia, Giardia Duodenalis
Giardiasis (jee-ar-DYE-uh-sis) is an illness of the digestive tract (stomach and
intestines). People mostly get it from drinking water that's contaminated with a tiny
parasite called Giardia lamblia.
More to Know
Giardia is one of the main causes of diarrhea
in the United States. Young kids are more likely to have giardiasis than adults, but
anyone can become infected. Most people who are infected with Giardia may
have no signs of illness, even though the parasite is living in their intestines.
Giardiasis often starts with watery diarrhea. Kids may also get belly cramps and
gas. They might feel sick or throw up. Some kids may have a low-grade fever.
Giardiasis is contagious. It spreads through feces (poop) that might get into food
or water, or on hands. Giardiasis can
spread to people from infected animals, even a family dog.
Giardiasis is treated with prescription medicine to kill the parasites.
Keep in Mind
well and often can help stop giardiasis from
spreading. Kids should wash after playing in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, aquariums,
or "touch tanks." Only drink water that's approved by local health authorities or
have well water tested often.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical