Giardia lamblia

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Gi·ar·di·a in·tes·ti·na·lis

a flattened, heart-shaped motile flagellated organism (10-20 mcm in length) with eight flagella; it attaches itself to the intestinal mucosa by means of a pair of sucking organs; in humans it is usually asymptomatic except in cases of heavy infection, when it may interfere with absorption of fats and produce flatulence, steatorrhea, bloating, and acute discomfort; it is the common species of Giardia in humans but is also found in pigs, dogs, cats and other mammals. In dogs and cats, it is commonly associated with bloating, flatulence, tenesmus, weight loss, and malodorous mucoid or bloody soft frothy voluminous stools; can have severe clinical course in young, sick or immunocompromised hosts. Chronic infestations may lead to debilitation. May be asymptomatic.
Synonym(s): Giardia lamblia
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

Giardia lamblia

A species of Giardia found in humans, transmitted by ingestion of cysts in fecally contaminated water or food. In current usage, the preferred name for G. lamblia is now G. duodenalis. These organisms are found worldwide. The most common symptoms of G. duodenalis infection are diarrhea, fever, cramps, anorexia, nausea, weakness, weight loss, abdominal distention, flatulence, greasy stools, belching, and vomiting. Onset of symptoms begins about 2 weeks after exposure; the disease may persist for up to 2 to 3 months.

There is no effective chemoprophylaxis for this disease. Metronidazole, quinacrine, or tinidazole are preferred treatments. See: water, emergency preparation of safe drinking


Cysts or trophozoites can be identified in feces. Three consecutive negative tests are required before the feces are considered to be negative. Duodenal contents also can be examined by aspiration or string test, in which an ordinary string is swallowed and allowed to remain in the duodenum long enough for the protozoa to attach. On removal, it is examined for the presence of cysts or trophozoites. A stool antigen assay test detects Giardia. This involves either immunofluorescence or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

See also: Giardia
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

Giardia lamblia

A type of protozoa with a whiplike tail that infects the human intestinal tract, causing giardiasis. The protozoa will not spread to other parts of the body.
Mentioned in: Giardiasis
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Alfred, French biologist, 1846-1908.
Giardia lamblia - protozoa which causes diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
giardiasis - infection with Giardia.
Medical Eponyms © Farlex 2012
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