Giardia infection (giardiasis) is one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in the United States. The parasites are found in backcountry streams and lakes but also in municipal water supplies, swimming pools, whirlpool spas and wells. Giardia infection can be transmitted through food and person-to-person contact.
Giardia infections usually clear up within a few weeks. But you may have intestinal problems long after the parasites are gone. Several drugs are generally effective against giardia parasites, but not everyone responds to them. Prevention is your best defense.
Several drugs can be used to treat Giardia infection. Effective treatments include metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide. Other medications include paromomycin, quinacrine, and furazolidone. Some of these drugs may not be readily available in the United States.
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