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ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu
Mon May 1 02:19:06 EST 1995

In Article <3nvd4t$icp at newsbf02.news.aol.com>
missandree at aol.com (MissAndree) writes:

>I recently came back from Guatemala (or should I say, *we* recently...)
>with giardias, amoebas (cystic?) as well as worms. What I would like to
>know is: are giardias amoebas, or an entirely different parasite? Do you
>get all of these from water (which I tried to avoid,) or do you get them
>from food, dirt, etc.

	Yes, Giardia and amoebas (Entamoeba histolytica, but also
  E.coli & E. hartmanni) are entirely different organisms.  Giardia is
a flagellate that attaches to the villi of the SI. Entamoeba is an amoeba
that locomotes around by extending its body to a new feeding site.  E.
histolytica is also capable of perforating the gut wall and invading the
viscera so it is of particular medical interest (concern).  Common symptoms
of Giardia and E. histolytica are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, 
anorexia.  Giardia is also associated with flatulence, and fowl smelling 
stools.  All parasites mentioned above are protozoans commonly obtained from
fecally contaminated water.  Helminths (worms) particularily Ascaris and
Trichuris can be obtained by ingesting the eggs present in dirt or found on
inadequately washed produce where workers have defecated in the fields or 
used night soil as fertilizer.  In Mexico, and perhaps most of Latin America,
all waterborne protozoa are locally refered to as "amibas" so this is
probably the source of your confusion.  There are some recent reports on
the efficacy of Albendazole as a giardiacidal compound. This is primarly a 
broad spectrum anthelmintic, but the extra efficacy may be of interest to 
your physician.  Hope this is useful and good luck.

*      Charles T. Faulkner       *   Get your facts first and then you
*  Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville  *   can distort them as much as you please.
*   (ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu)     *                   Mark Twain

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