How is giardiasis prevented?

Updated: Oct 01, 2018
  • Author: Hisham Nazer, MBBCh, FRCP, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Burt Cagir, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Infected persons and persons at risk should carefully wash their hands after they have any contact with feces. Careful hand washing is important, especially for caregivers of diapered infants in daycare centers, where diarrhea is common and carriers of Giardia organisms are numerous.

Chlorination, sedimentation, and filtration methods should be implemented to adequately purify public water supplies. Effective chlorine inactivation of Giardia cysts in water requires an optimal chlorine concentration, water pH, turbidity, temperature, and contact time. These variables cannot be appropriately controlled in all municipalities, and they are particularly difficult to control in swimming pools.

Advise travelers to endemic areas to avoid eating uncooked foods that may have been grown, washed, or prepared with contaminated water.

Drinking water can be purified by using filtration (pore size, < 1 µm) or by briskly boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Chlorine or iodine water treatments are less effective than boiling or filtration, but they may be used as alternatives when other methods are not available.

Infected individuals should refrain from using recreational water venues (eg, swimming pools, lakes, rivers) until they are symptom-free for few few weeks.

Breastfeeding appears to protect infants from Giardia intestinalis infection. [12, 18, 20] Breast milk contains detectable titres of secretory IgA, which is protective for infants, especially in developing countries. A study from Egypt [72] showed breast-fed infants had a lower incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. Furthermore, infected infants who were exclusively breast-fed had fewer clinical manifestations than those who were not exclusively breast-fed.


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