Commonly, malnutrition and parasitic diseases go hand in hand in similar geographical areas. The best example to explain this condition is the Giardiasis infection.
It is a common infection of the small intestine that is also known as beaver fever. That is the result of invasion by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia. The condition is universal, but it is frequent in developing countries where proper sanitary conditions are not present.
It spreads through the ingestion of contaminated food and from an infected person to a healthy person, and the disease even does not spare pets.
Giardiasis: Cause of Infection
Giardiasis is a parasitic infection caused by a zooflagellate Giardia lamblia.
It is a single-cell organism that enters into hosts through the mouth. It is an anaerobic organism that means it can survive without oxygen. Thus, it is tolerant of chlorine disnfectants.
Source 2: WikiHow
It enters the host’s body through contaminated food and attaches to the lumen of the small intestine. It has a specific sucker-like disc that helps it in the attachment to the intestinal wall.
The parasite stays in your gut and does not move to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. It sticks to the lumen and reproduces through binary fission.
After sticking to one fixed position, it starts sucking nutrition from the host’s body.
It is not the only parasite of this kind. Even some large parasites like liver flukes and hookworms also infect mammals in the same way and draw nutrition from their body.
Therefore, malnutrition and parasitic diseases are more common in the same geographic region.
How to know if you have Giardiasis?
If you google symptoms for any disease, they are all the same. So, how will you identify if you are having beaver fever?
The easy way to find out this is to keep a check on symptoms. It attaches to the wall of the intestine. So, most of the symptoms are related to your digestive system.
Some most common symptoms include:
- Bloating and abdominal cramps.
- Unexpected weight loss.
- Abdominal cramps.
These are some general symptoms that are present in every patient. But the indications vary from person to person.
Therefore if you have a feeling of being unwell along with the mentioned symptoms, you should get a proper diagnosis for giardiasis infection.
How giardiasis is diagnosed?
Diagnostics techniques always depend upon the nature of the disease.
Pathogens of beaver fever reside in the gut only. It does not spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream because it sticks to the wall of the intestine. Thus the sample for diagnostics should also come from the alimentary canal.
So, to detect giardiasis, stool samples are collected. To increase the sensitivity of the test for three stool samples are collected on separate days.
Trichrome staining is the usual method employed for the detection of intestinal pathogens. Its results are 91% curates. However, it is not appropriate to test beaver fever infection. The variability in the concentration of parasites in the stool can make detection difficult with the help of trichrome staining.
The monoclonal antibody-based immunoassay is more reliable for the detection of intestinal pathogen Giardia.
What is the treatment of Giardiasis?
The treatment of giardia depends upon the infected person. For example, in a healthy person, the infection can wipe away of its own in a couple of weeks.
But an unhealthy person requires proper medication. Therefore you can discuss various treatment options with your doctor.
There are multiple antibiotics to treat giardiasis infection. The most reliable drugs include metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide.
Metronidazole is can treat giardiasis in five to seven days. But it has a side-effect that includes causing nausea and leaving a metallic taste in the mouth.
Tinidazole is a great option to treat giardiasis. It is capable of eradicating the disease in a single dose. It is more often used to treat vaginal infections.
Nitazoxanide is an antiviral and antiparasitic antibiotic. It is more often used for children. Because it is liquid and three doses are enough to eradicate the pathogen.
Is it possible to treat giardiasis without antibiotics?
1 out 15 people are allergic to antibiotics. Also, their effects decrease with constant intake.
Thus, it is not possible to treat every person with the same course of antibiotics. According to a paper published in the Iranian Journal of Parasitology regular intake of raw ginger and cinnamon reduces the number of cysts in stool significantly.
Giardiasis is a pathogenic disease caused by Giardia lamblia. It can occur due to intake of contaminated food and water. The disease is not fatal, but the condition is very discomforting. If you feel unwell and feel like vomiting, diarrhea, or gas then you may be infected from giardia.
Its treatments include antibiotic course. Common antibiotics prescribed in this condition are metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide.