How is giardia spread?
Giardia is spread by ingesting the parasite from contaminated food or fluids. How does it get there I hear you ask. Well, when you are unwell, it is possible that your normal attention to personal hygiene may lapse. Because an infected person can shed billions of parasites in their faeces, it can easily spread when hands are not properly washed after going to the toilet and surfaces and items you touch become contaminated. These can make their way into the mouth of an unsuspecting traveller through food or fluids. Because the parasite can also survive in swimming pools, if an infected person swims while still contagious others that use the pool may become infected too. Even if you avoid the swimming pool or food hall, adventurous travellers can still be at risk of giardiasis. Animals can also contract giardia and contaminate lakes and other untreated water sources, so think twice before drinking from untreated lakes and streams.
Sources & Citations
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sources of infection and risk factors. Giardia Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/infection-sources.html (accessed 25 October 2018).
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Giardia. Illness and symptoms. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/illness.html (accessed 25 October 2018).
3. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Gastroenteritis - giardiasis. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/gastroenteritis-giardiasis (accessed 25 October 2018).
SPANZ.SAPAS.18.11.0396 - Date of preparation November 2018