Giardiasis is an intestinal illness caused by infection with the parasite Giardia lamblia, which lives in contaminated water. A person can remain infected with Giardia until the infection is diagnosed and treated. The infection is found in about 1 out of 3 people who have prolonged diarrhoea symptoms if they have recently travelled to a place that is affected.
The worst symptoms of giardiasis typically last for five to seven days, as long as diagnosis and treatment is not delayed. Symptoms can take as long as several months to completely go away after treatment because the intestine needs to repair itself. It is common to be intolerant to milk and other dairy products that contain lactose for the first few months after a Giardia infection. In some people who are not treated, the infection can cause repeated bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhea for a year or longer.
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