Food poisoning and infectious diseases - Information about Giardia Lamblia

What is Giardia Lamblia? 

The protozoa (germ) called Giardia Lamblia is a common cause of illness worldwide. The common symptoms of a Giardia infection are diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue. Some people who contract Giardia may only have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. 

Where could you have caught it?

In this country this germ is most commonly spread from person-to-person via the faeces (motions) of an infected person. It is also a common cause of diarrhoea in people returning from foreign travel. Outbreaks can be associated with contaminated water, but this occurs mainly in areas of the world with poor sanitation and inadequate water supplies. 

Many animal species carry this germ so contact with pets and other animals may be the cause of infection. 

When did you catch it?

You were probably infected 1-3 weeks before you became ill, but some cases can have an incubation period of longer than this. 

How long will you be ill?

If untreated the illness could last 4-6 weeks or even longer, but your GP may prescribe treatment which usually clears up the infection. Once you have been treated, feel better and have had no diarrhoea for 48 hours it is quite safe to return to work or school. If other members of your family have or have had similar symptoms, ask them to see their GP too, as they may also need treatment. 

Remember while you are ill pay particular attention to personal hygiene, especially: 

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before handling food. 
  • People caring for ill people should also wash their hands after handling patients, their bedding, clothing, etc, and again before preparing or serving food. 
  • Towels should not be shared.
  • Potties, seats and flush handle of WC's, taps and toilet door handles should be regularly disinfected. If the toilet has a lid then it should be placed down, covering the toilet before it is flushed. A household disinfectant such as "Dettox" is recommended. 
  • Sinks used for preparing food or washing crockery should not be used for personal washing or soiled laundry. 

These precautions will help to limit the spread of infection to others.



Last Updated on Wednesday, May 8, 2024