Giardia Lamblia

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Giardia Lamblia is a form of gastro-enteritis caused by a protozoan parasite which sometimes lives in the bowel of humans and animals.

Giardia Lamblia is commonly caught from:

  • contaminated drinking water
  • close contact with another infected person.
  • eating food which has been contaminated

The illness usually occurs within 5–10 days of infection but it can be up to 25 days before the symptoms appear.

  • Diarrhoea – which may last a week or two
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Wash hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before preparing meals or eating.
  • Avoid drinking any water supply that could be contaminated.
  • Young children with the infection should have their hands washed for them or be supervised.
  • Disinfect all areas in the toilet daily (including door handles).
  • Infected people should stay away from work until they have been free of symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours
  • If the infected person is in a high risk group e.g. is a food handler, nursery worker, nurse or carer for the elderly etc. they cannot return to work until they have been completely recovered for 48 hours. Sometimes clear faecal specimens (negative results) are required. Also, it may be necessary to temporarily exclude infected children from playgroups, nurseries, childminders or schools. An Officer from the department will inform you if exclusion is necessary and when you are able to resume activities.
  • Your GP will be able to give you advice on treatment.
  • You should tell your place of work or in the case of children, the head teacher of the school to find out if exclusion is necessary and when you can return.

If you report your infection, the council’s investigating officer will give you a more general leaflet on infection control.

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