Giardia lamblia

impaired digestion, especially lactose intolerance; intermittent diarrhea; tiredness and weakness; and significant weight loss.

For diagnosis, stool specimens are collected and examined over a period of at least 3 days. The diagnosis is made by microscopic identification of the parasite in stool. Tests that detect antigens (proteins) to Giardia in the feces are especially useful for screening children in day-care settings, and for testing adults after treatment.

Treatment may be with metronidazole (Flagyl). Pregnant women are advised not to take metronidazole during the first trimester of pregnancy. Paromomycin is an alternative and safer drug. If relapses occur, re-treatment with the same drug is usually effective. Furazolidone (Furoxone) may be given to infants and to children under 5 years old, since it comes in a liquid form.

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