WHAT IS IT?
Giardiasis is a diarrheal disease caused by the parasite Giardia. A parasite is an organism that feeds off another to survive. It is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals. Giardia infection is the most common intestinal parasitic disease that affects humans and animal, including pets. Giardia infects people when they swallow the parasite. It can be spread by:
- Swallowing Giardia picked up from surfaces (such as bathroom handles, changing tables, diaper pails, or toys) that contain feces (poop) from an infected person or animal
- Drinking water or using ice made from water sources where Giardia may live (for example, untreated or improperly treated water from lakes, streams, or wells)
- Swallowing water while swimming or playing in water where Giardia may live, especially in lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, and streams
- Eating uncooked food that contains Giardia organisms
- Having contact with someone who is ill with giardiasis
- Traveling to countries where giardiasis is common