Giardiasis

Giardiasis is caused by the protozoa Giardia lamblia and is often associated with ingestion of contaminated food or water. The parasite can present in two forms: cysts and trophozoites. After a cyst has been ingested orally or nasally it matures, and once in the stomach it releases trophozoites. These adhere to the mucosal lining of the proximal small intestine and initiate an inflammatory response. Most adults with giardiasis are asymptomatic, although non-bloody diarrhoea, headaches, nausea and vomiting can result. Diagnosis is by stool culture for the Giardia antigen or by small bowel biopsy examination.

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