Giardiasis: an illness, also known as Beaver Fever. It is caused by Giardia lamblia, a one-celled microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of people and animals. Over the past 20 years it has become one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in the United States. Giardia lamblia is found in water in every region of the united states, some experts believe that up to 7% of americans are infected, but don't show symptoms.

Symptoms: Roughly one to two weeks (average is 7 days) after exposure the following symptoms present themselves and last anywhere from four to six weeks:
Who is at risk:
  • Children that attend day care centers (all ages)
  • Child Care workers
  • Parents of infected workers
  • International Travelers
  • people who swallow water from contaminated sources
  • Hikers
  • People drinking from shallow wells

Transmission & Prevention: You can become infected after accidentally ingesting (swallowing) the parasite which can be found in water (most common) food, soil or on surfaces.
  • Boil all water that you intend on drinking for one minute. Iodine pills can be used to purify water and kill the parasites.
  • If you are eating uncooked food in an area at risk for beaver fever, thoroughly wash all the food with safe water. Preferably cook everything.
  • Wash and peel all raw vegetables and fruits before eating.

Treatment: If you think that you may have contracted Giardiasis you should immediately contact your healthcare provider. There is prescription medication that is effective at shortening the length of time the symptoms persist.The most commonly prescribed medications for Giardia are Flagyl, Furoxone and Albenza. If you think that you are infected, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water both before and after food preperation and before and after coming into contact with other people.

There have been two reported cases of transmision under laboratory settings in the history of the disease. It is kept in level two biohazard rooms. One is the lowest level of infection 4 is the highest.

Source: Center for Disease Control

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