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Giardia and Food Poisoning

What is giardia?

Giardiasis is a type of foodborne illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia Lamblia or Giardia duodenalis (commonly known as "giardia"). It is most commonly found in developing countries that lack sanitation and water quality control.

How do you get giardiasis?

You can contract giardiasis by ingesting the Giardia parasite. The bacteria travel through the small intestine and out through infected feces from a person or animal that can contaminate anything that comes into contact with it. As with any other bacteria, Giardia spreads very easily - even ingesting tiny amounts of feces can make you ill.

How do you spread giardiasis?

There are a lot of ways to get the bacteria, however, these are the most common:

  • Contact with both infected animals and animal environments contaminated by the bacteria
  • Eating unsafe food or drinking water that's been contaminated with Giardia
  • Traveling to areas with poor sanitation
  • Transmission through close contact with infected people
  • Germs from contaminated surfaces and touching your mouth
  • Having anal sex (coming into contact with feces) with someone who is sick or who was recently infected with Giardia

How common is giardiasis? 

In the last 50 years, giardiasis has been recognized around the world as one of the most common parasites that can damage an internal organ. In places with poor sanitation such as developing countries, this is a big concern, but it is also found in developed countries everywhere. 

When do you show signs and symptoms of giardiasis? 

The onset of the symptoms of giardiasis usually begins 1 to 2 weeks after ingesting contaminated food or water or coming into contact with an infected person with giardia. 

What are the signs and symptoms of giardia infection? 

A giardia infection or giardiasis can result in a variety of symptoms common to any other foodborne illness such as: 

  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Loose stools
  • Foul-smelling, greasy poop
  • Gas
  • Stomach cramps or pain

How long do these symptoms last? 

Symptoms of a giardia infection last depending on the severity but it normally takes 2 to 6 weeks to fully run its course. People who are immunocompromised (e.g., due to illness such as HIV) may experience longer symptoms. 

Is Giardiasis contagious? 

Yes, it is. Because giardia is fast to multiply even outside of the body, it is very contagious and spreads quickly, especially if you live with other people in the same house. 

Who is at greater risk of getting giardiasis? 

People who are usually diagnosed with the bacteria are often found to have traveled to places with poor conditions and a lack of sanitation. Those who love to go on hikes in the forest and drink directly from contaminated lakes or streams are vulnerable to getting giardiasis. Couples who perform anal sex can also get infected with the bacteria. It is especially risky for those who have heart conditions and infants and young children. 

How is giardiasis diagnosed? 

Your doctor will request for a stool sample to be sent to the lab to see if you are infected. Because it can be quite challenging to detect Giardia in one sitting, the doctor may request for more stool specimens to be collected over the course of a few days to see if you are infected. 

Can I get giardia from my private well? 

Giardia can make its way into wells, even though private, through a variety of ways, including sewage overflows and malfunctions as well as environmental factors. Wells may be more prone to contamination by fecal matter after periods of flooding, and this is most likely during rare shallow wells or long flood events. A leaking septic system or poorly maintained one can pose a risk of contaminating nearby wells with germs from fecal matter, such as Giardia. 

Can I get giardiasis from my pet? 

The chances of contracting Giardia from dogs or cats are slim. The type of Giardia that infects humans is usually not the same type that passes between dogs and cats.

What is the treatment for giardiasis? 

There are many prescription drugs available to treat giardiasis. But giardia is more likely to cause dehydration in infants or pregnant women than in other people. Infants and pregnant women should drink a lot of fluids during the course of infection. This helps prevent dehydration which can be life-threatening for infants and young children, so parents should talk to their health care providers about options for treating them. 

How do I prevent giardiasis? 

Here are a few ways to avoid getting infected and control the spread of giardia: 

  • Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after activities that require you to touch food, dirt, or feces
  • Do not eat or drink from contaminated sources
  • If no bottled water is available while backpacking or camping, make sure to boil water from springs, lakes, or rivers (surface water) for at least one minute before drinking.
  • Try to avoid ingesting water from swimming pools, hot tubs, splash pads, and untreated water from springs, lakes, or rivers (surface water) when swimming.
  • Ensure that fruits and vegetables are cleaned, prepared, and stored properly.
  • Practice safe sex by wearing condoms or abstain from having sexual intercourse several weeks after you or your partner have recovered from giardiasis.
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Recent Interesting Reports

Sammi (Aust) Pty Ltd is recalling Shaanxi Cold Noodle (Noodle + Seasoning 186g package, containing noodle 80g) due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (peanut), which could cause a reaction from those with a peanut allergy or intolerance. The product has been available for sale at... See More Asian Supermarkets in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria.

The recalled product is:
- Shaanxi Cold Noodle (Noodle + Seasoning 186g package, containing noodle 80g), Best Before 11/07/2023​.

Any consumers who have a peanut allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.

In case you experienced harm from allergens or undeclared ingredients, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve issues and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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I was diagnosed March 1, 2023  after leaving the ER on Feb 28th . I still am very sick . I ate only here for three days packing in process of moving ., there Meatlovers pizza or undercooked brownies . Either way I only ate here. The... See More last day I ate from there and last big meal was Feb 21,2023 in the evening packing up my apartment I spent the entire Day 02 - 27 in pain with a migraine. I went by ambulance to Er on the 28th a snow day . Sure | Symptoms: Migraine, Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach Pain See Less

There’s a whole week in between eating and going to the hospital. It wasn’t the pizza
-1 Reply 2 weeks ago
Hi, thanks for your comment. Onset times for food poisoning vary greatly. Chemical contamination can be within minutes, but there are other pathogens in which the onset of symptoms is not immediate and can show up later (e.g. Campylobacter - 2 to 5 days; E. coli - 1 to 8 days; Vibrio - 1 to 7 days).
Reply 1 week ago
I was at the KFC in Villingen-Schwenningen the previous Saturday evening and ordered a veggie wrap. I ate it at home after wrapping made me so nauseous. I suddenly had severe headaches and dizziness. I felt very ill I had diarrhea several times during the night. My... See More whole body started shaking and it didn't stop. Then at 4:00 in the morning I had to vomit everything came out. I was still shaking after that. On Sunday I felt just as bad could not eat anything I was nauseous and dizzy I had diarrhea even in the morning. I only ate the one from kfc that Saturday. Then I saw a review on their website that wrote two weeks ago that she got food poisoning from the veggie tender!!!! That doesn't work at all!!!! The sauce from the wrap tasted very, very disgusting!!! | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Headache, Dizziness, Shaking See Less

Suspected food poisoning. Symptoms: Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach Pain, Cramps, Chills, Headache
Suspected source: Food from here
Onset: 4 to 12 hours
Duration: One Week
Sick: Me | Symptoms: Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach Pain, Cramps, Chills, Headache See Less

Ceres Enterprises Ltd is recalling specific batches of its Ceres Organics brand Organic Hulled Tahini and Ceres Organics brand Organics Unhulled Tahini due to the possible presence of Salmonella. The products are sold in supermarkets, retail outlets and bulk stores throughout New Zealand. There have been no... See More reports of associated illness.

The recalled products are:
- Ceres Organics brand Organic Hulled Tahini (300g), BEST BEFORE: 25/05/2023, 22/08/2023 and 01/08/2024
- Ceres Organics brand Organic Unhulled Tahini (300g), BEST BEFORE: 25/05/2023 and 22/08/2023
- Organic Hulled Tahini (18kg), Batch No: RE2022-00135, RE2022-00050-1, ORG-3789-211-1
- Organic Hulled Tahini (bulk dispensed), Purchased between 13 July 2022 and 10 March 2023.
- Organic Unhulled Tahini (18kg), Batch No: RE2022-00050-2, ORG-3789-211-2
- Organic Unhulled Tahini (bulk dispensed), Purchased between 9 June 2022 and 10 March 2023

The products have been imported from Turkey but have been incorrectly labelled as product of Mexico or Israel.

Affected products should not be consumed. Customers should return the products to their retailer for a full refund.

In case you are experiencing Salmonella symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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This food truck in Strasburg, VA. Please do not eat here, worse experience of my life. Food Poisoning almost sent me to the hospital. It was the only thing I had eaten during the second part of my day. My boyfriend and I tried the chicken and... See More steak tacos. Both of us have cramps, explosive diarrhea, nausea, and more. We spent last night and this morning absolutely sick from it. Have never had food poisoning like this before, currently still sick, trying to hold fluids, but were both still struggling the next day. Never in my life, never again. I heard NOTHING good about this place shared on social media, but wanted to give it a chance. I whole heartedly regret my discussion, and need to advocate for public safety!! | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Cramps See Less

Me and two other friends came yesterday to the Covent Garden location. And today myself and the other friend have been throwing up, nausea, diarrhea all day. | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting See Less

The FDA and CDC, along with state and local partners, are investigating a Hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen organic strawberries imported by a common supplier from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico. The frozen organic strawberries were sold to a variety of retailers under multiple... See More brand labels nationwide in the USA. As of March 17, 2023, a total of 5 people infected with Hepatitis A virus have been reported in Washington state (including 2 probable cases). 2 people were hospitalized and no deaths were reported. Last Illness Onset: December 27, 2022.

There have been announced recalls of several Strawberries:
- California Splendor recalled Kirkland Signature 4-lb. bag Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries with specific lot codes, sold by Costco stores in Los Angeles and Hawaii, and to two San Diego business centers.
- Scenic Fruit Recalled frozen organic strawberries with the following brand names and Best By Dates distributed by Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood, and PCC Community Markets in specific states, and to Trader Joe’s nationwide.
* Simply Nature, Organic Strawberries, Best By 06/14/2024
* Vital Choice, Organic Strawberries, BEST BY 05/20/2024
* Kirkland Signature, Organic Strawberries, Best If Used By 10/08/2024
* Made With, Organic Strawberries, Best Before 11/20/2024
* PCC Community Markets, Organic Strawberries, Best By 29/10/2024
* Trader Joe’s, Organic Tropical Fruit Blend with the following Best By dates: 04/25/24; 05/12/24; 05/23/24; 05/30/24; 06/07/24

The investigation is ongoing, additional products may be included.

FDA gives the following recommendations:
- Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat recalled frozen strawberries. These recalled products should be returned or thrown away.
- If consumers purchased the recalled frozen organic strawberries and ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed. PEP is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the last two weeks because vaccination can prevent a hepatitis A virus infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A virus infection do not require PEP.

In case you experienced Hepatitis A symptoms such as fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, dark-colored urine, and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin), it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve issues and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance.

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RappelConso issued a recall of Sans Marque Rib dish cooked in Jelly due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. This product was distributed nationwide in France by Carrefour.

The recalled product is:
- Sans Marque Plat de côte cuit en gelée (Rib dish cooked in Jelly), GTIN... See More 3451950106460 Lot 23068, Best before date: 04/13/2023.

Packaging: Product sold at Carrefour in 3.6kg salad bowl
Storage temperature: Product to be stored in the refrigerator
Health mark: FR 76 681 001
Geographical area of sale: France
Distributors : Carrefour
Recall end date: 03/31/2023
Published on: 03/17/2023

If you bought the recalled product, please do not eat it, throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund.

In case you are experiencing Listeria monocytogenes symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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