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Gastroenteritis (cont.)

Parasites and Protozoans (Giardia, Cryptosporidium)

These tiny organisms are less frequently responsible for intestinal irritation. A person may become infected by one of these by drinking contaminated water. Swimming pools are common places to come in contact with these parasites. Common parasites include

  • Giardia is the most frequent cause of waterborne diarrhea, causing giardiasis. Often, people become infected after swallowing water that has been contaminated by animal feces (poop). This may occur by drinking infected water from river or lakes but giardia may also be found in swimming pools, wells and cisterns.
  • Cryptosporidium (Crypto) is a parasite that lives in the intestine of affected individuals or animals. The infected individual or animal sheds the Cryptosporidium parasite in the stool. Crypto may also be found in food, water, soil, or contaminated surfaces (swallowing contaminated water, beverages, uncooked food, unwashed fruits and vegetables, touching contaminated surfaces such as bathroom fixtures, toys, diaper pails, changing tables, changing diapers, caring for an infected individual or handling an infected cow or calf). Those at risk for serious disease are individuals with weakened immune systems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/15/2013

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