Giardia lamblia (Giardia intestinalis and Giardia duodenalis are synonyms) is a cyst-producing parasite, able to settle in the human and animal bowel. The parasites could cause disease equally in humans and animals such as dogs, cats, cows and sheep. In the environment, major reservoirs of the parasite are contaminated surface waters.
Infected individuals can remain without symptoms or (three to 25 or more days later) develop either acute or chronic diarrhoea. Bloating, fatigue, and malabsorption of vitamins and fats may occur. Infants and children are at a particularly increased risk of infection.
A major pathway of disease transmission is personal contact with infected patients or exposure to food or water contaminated by them. Thus, individuals in nursing homes or day-care centres are particularly susceptible to outbreaks.
Giardia cysts can survive for extended periods of time in the environment and chlorination of water alone cannot inactivate them. Therefore, cases among hikers or backpackers in wilderness areas are common, and waterborne outbreaks due to inadequate treatment of drinking water are common.
Disease data from ECDC Surveillance Atlas - giardiasis
The Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Diseases is a tool that interacts with the latest available data about a number of infectious diseases. The interface allows users to interact and manipulate the data to produce a variety of tables and maps.
Toolkit for investigation and response to Food and Waterborne Disease Outbreaks with an EU dimension
1 Jan 2012 - The purpose of this toolkit is to provide investigators with a series of tools that can be useful during an investigation of a European FWD outbreak, i.e. an outbreak that involves at least two EU Member States.
Communication toolkit on gastrointestinal diseases: How to support infection prevention in schools
19 Nov 2013 - This toolkit aims to support infection prevention in schools, with a focus on gastrointestinal diseases, by assisting EU/EEA countries in their communication initiatives for disease prevention in school settings.