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Question: can giardia or giardiasis infection go away on its own after a while? or will it always be present in the intestine for as long as treatment is not taken. Can it kill an animal or human if it goes untreated? I've read that many cases in humans are undiagnosed and that makes me wonder if it just goes away by itself or if it kills the host?

Answer: Many people go undiagnosed because they have no symptoms. Accurate diagnosis requires an antigen test or, if that is unavailable, an ova and parasite examination of stool. Multiple stool examinations are recommended, since the cysts and trophozoites are not shed consistently. Colonisation of the gut results in inflammation and villous atrophy, reducing the gut's absorptive capability. In humans, infection is symptomatic only about 50% of the time, and protocol for treating asymptomatic individuals is controversial.[3] Symptoms of infection include (in order of frequency) diarrhea, malaise, excessive gas (often flatulence or a foul or sulphuric-tasting belch, which has been known to be so nauseating in taste that it can cause the infected person to vomit), steatorrhoea (pale, foul smelling, greasy stools), epigastric pain, bloating, nausea, diminished interest in food, possible (but rare) vomiting which is often violent, and weight loss.[3] Pus, mucus and blood are not commonly present in the stool. In healthy individuals, the condition is usually self-limiting, although the infection can be prolonged in patients who are immunocompromised, or who have decreased gastric acid secretion.[3] People with recurring Giardia infections, particularly those with a lack of IgA, may develop chronic disease. Lactase deficiency may develop in an infection with Giardia, however this usually does not persist for more than a few weeks, and a full recovery is the norm. Cats can be cured easily, lambs usually simply lose weight, but in calves the parasites can be fatal and often are not responsive to antibiotics or electrolytes. Carriers among calves can also be asymptomatic. Dogs have a high infection rate, as 30% of the population under one year old are known to be infected in kennels. The infection is more prevalent in puppies than in adult dogs. This parasite is deadly for chinchillas, so extra care must be taken by providing them with safe water. Infected dogs can be isolated and treated, or the entire pack at a kennel can be treated together regardless. Kennels should also be then cleaned with bleach or other cleaning disinfectants. The grass areas used for exercise should be considered contaminated for at least one month after dogs show signs of infection, as cysts can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Prevention can be achieved by quarantine of infected dogs for at least 20 days and careful management and maintenance of a clean water supply. ============================================ In otherwise healthy persons, symptoms of giardiasis may last 2 to 6 weeks. Occasionally, symptoms last longer. Several prescription drugs are available to treat Giardia . Although Giardia can infect all people, young children and pregnant women may be more susceptible to dehydration resulting from diarrhea and should, therefore, drink plenty of fluids while ill. Treatment is not necessary when the child has no symptoms. However, there are a few exceptions. If your child does not have diarrhea, but is having nausea, fatigue (very tired), weight loss, or a poor appetite, you and your health care provider may wish to consider treatment. If your child attends a day care center where an outbreak is continuing to occur despite efforts to control it, screening and treating children who have no obvious symptoms may be a good idea. The same is true if several family members are ill, or if a family member is pregnant and therefore not able to take the most effective anti-Giardia medications. Check out the links below.

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