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Disease Focus: Giardiasis

Giardiasis Brief

by Lindsay Boyce

Giardia is a parasite that causes the diarrheal disease Gardiasis. It is frequently found on surfaces, in soil, food or water that had been contaminated by fecal material. The structure of Giardia allows it to live for long periods outside of a host. The most common mode of transmission is through drinking contaminated water.

Giardiasis is the most frequently diagnosed intestinal disease. Symptoms can last from 1 to 2 weeks or sometimes longer; frequent symptoms include, diarrhea, gas, greasy stool, stomach and abdominal cramps, upset stomach and nausea, as well as dehydration. Less common symptoms may include itch skin or hives, and swelling of the eyes and joints.

Diagnosis is usually done through the collection of stool samples. Treatment is provided by several drugs, these include metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide.

Prevention is easy and simple. Good hygiene practices are important for the prevention of Giardiasis. The most common prevention technique is washing hands before preparing food, after using the bathroom, after touching and animal, and before and after treating a cut or wound.

Overall, much like other diseases prevention is the easiest way to protect from the contraction of Gidariasis. Common good hygiene rules are the best way to protect your self from contracting Giardiasis.


A Recreational Water Illness

By Jason Zheng

As the hot beaming sun and humidity strive among us during the summer months, many people would go to beaches to cool down, however those to choose to remain close to home, opt for public pools. Though attending public pools has certain requirements, such as showering after using the restroom and practice proper hygienic. However a study shows that 1 in 5 Americans use pools as a restroom, while 7 in 10 do not shower before or after being in a pool. 

These poor practices can contribute to gastroenteritis outbreaks. One of the many disease, giardia or giardiasis is a germ can live up to 45 minutes in contaminated water because of its tough outer shell, even if the water is properly chlorinated. In 2013, 23 cases of giardiasis has been reported at the Navy MTFs.

To prevent these illnesses, the Center of Disease Control have established protocols that would maintain a safe and healthy swimming environment. These protocols are primarily used to establish awareness and proper practices for swimmers and disinfectors of pools (e.g. establishing proper pH and chlorine levels to pools and hot tubs). The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center also established their own protocols on clearing a fecal infested pool.

Where there are no human occupancy in swimming pools and public waters, animals may populated the area. Thus animal fecal waste and bacteria can also strive in public waters and marine water, being equivalent on harming humans.

Virginia like all states have their own regulations to follow when it comes to disposing pool water. First the water needs to be covered and second the normal waiting period would be at least seven days for the chlorine and bromine to evaporate, as well having a pH between 6 and 8. Improper disposal of pool water may contribute to the decline of marine life because pool water is drained directly into a pond, lake, stream, and/or sewage.

Giardiasis is a disease by human and/or animal contribution. However, while we cannot fully control the latter, we can control the former to prevent the spread of giardiasis.

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