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Giardia Infection Information

15/10/2014
Giardia infection causes an illness called Giardiasis. This is an intestinal infection caused by a single-celled parasite called Giardia lamblia/intestinalis. Giardia is not contagious.
You can get Giardia infection by putting anything in your mouth that has been directly or indirectly
contaminated with animal or human faeces containing Giardia.
Examples of potential sources of Giardia contamination are:
- rivers, streams, springs, ponds, lakes, swimming pools
- uncooked food, fruit and vegetables
- surfaces of toys, bathroom fixtures, nappy changing tables
-person to person contact between young children
The following symptoms usually appear between 7 – 10 days from the time of exposure:
 foul smelling greasy or watery diarrhoea, abdominal cramps,  nausea, fatigue, bloating, loss of appetite.
Treatment
_ Drink plenty of fluids such as plain water or oral rehydration drinks (available from pharmacies).
_ Antibiotics are usually required. Consult your GP or a doctor of your choice.
_ Avoid anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhoeal medications unless prescribed or recommended by a doctor.
What do I do if I have Giardia infection?
_ Do not go to work for at least 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.
_ Do not handle or prepare food for the family or household for at least 24 hours after symptoms have
stopped.
_ Keep children home from school for at least 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.
_ People in hospitals, nursing homes and other residential facilities should be nursed in their own room,
with a private bathroom for at least 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.
_ Immediately remove and wash any clothes or bedding contaminated with vomit or diarrhoea using
soap and hot water.
_ Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using
a bleach-based household clean
Reduce the risks of getting Giardia infection?
_ Consult your GP or a doctor of your choice about protecting yourself against Giardia before travelling overseas.
_ Wash hands with soap and water after changing nappies and before preparing or handling food or
drinks. Wash your hands effectively, lather thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 15
seconds. Dry your hands with a clean single use towel (e.g. paper towel) and turn the tap off with the
towel to avoid possible recontamination.
_ If hand washing facilities are not available then use an alcohol-based gel.
_ Make sure foods are thoroughly cooked.
_ Do not enter a swimming pool or spa until you are symptom free for at least 24 hours.
Where can I find more information on Giardia infection?
For further information contact your GP, a doctor of your choice or Health Direct (1800 022 222).
Produced by Communicable Disease Control Directorate
© Department of Health, Western Australia December 2007