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Giardia intestinalis, which is also known as lamblia or duodenale, is the commonest intestinal protozoan parasite.

It typically produces small bowel overgrowth and associated malabsorption. The average incubation period is between three to twenty-one days.

Aetiology:                     Giardiaintestinalis is a worldwide phenomenon, with cysts able to exist outside of living hosts for extended periods in water sources. This, in turn, facilitates the spread of the organism. Additionally, it can also be passed from person to person.

Symptoms:                   Sometimes the patient may be completely asymptomatic, whereas other times they may experience watery diarrhoea, steatorrhoea, abdominal discomfort, bloating, weight loss, fatigue, sulphurous belching, and flatulence.

Signs:                              The patient may also present with a low-grade fever and dehydration.

Investigations:          The physician may order a full blood count (FBC) as well as a urea and electrolyte (U&E) test. Additionally, a stool test for ova, cysts, and parasites (OCP) should be performed. The �string test�, which involves swallowing a capsule containing a string and then examining the string for the presence of Giardia trophozoites when it is pulled back out, may be performed as well.

Treatment:                  The medical treatment of choice for Giardiaintestinalis is metronidazole 400mg taken three times daily for five to ten days, although tinidazole can be used as an alternative.

Complications:           In cases of severe malabsorption, especially in children, growth retardation can occur.

Prognosis:                     In general, the prognosis for Giardiaintestinalis is quite good.

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