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Urinary tract infection (UTI)

OTHER  NAMES: Acute cystitis or Bladder infection,

Definition:
A urinary tract infection (UTI), is an infection that affects part of the urinary tract.(kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.) Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a simple cystitis (a bladder infection) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as pyelonephritis (a kidney infection). …..CLICK & SEE… :Female urinary system .……. Male urinary system 

Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men are. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to kidneys.

CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES

Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. But you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place.

SIGN  &  SYMPTOMS:   
Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may include:

*A strong, persistent urge to urinate
*A burning sensation when urinating
*Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
*Urine that appears cloudy
*Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
*Strong-smelling urine
*Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

UTIs may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults.

Types of urinary tract infection:

Each type of UTI may result in more-specific signs and symptoms, depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected.

These symptoms may vary from mild to severe and in healthy persons last an average of six days.

KIDNEYS (acute pyelonephritis):...CLICK & SEE
*Upper back and side (flank) pain
*High fever
*Shaking and chills
*Nausea
*Vomiting

BLADDER (cystitis): ….CLICK & SEE
*Pelvic pressure
*Lower abdomen discomfort (Some pain above the pubic bone or in the lower back may be present.)
*Frequent, painful urination
*Blood in urine (Rarely the urine may appear bloody  or contain visible pus in the urine.)

URETHRA (urethritis): …….CLICK & SEE
:Burning with urination
:Discharge

Children:
In young children, the only symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI) may be a fever. Because of the lack of more obvious symptoms, when females under the age of two or uncircumcised males less than a year exhibit a fever, a culture of the urine is recommended by many medical associations. Infants may feed poorly, vomit, sleep more, or show signs of jaundice. In older children, new onset urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) may occur.

Elderly:
Urinary tract symptoms are frequently lacking in the elderly. The presentations may be vague with incontinence, a change in mental status, or fatigue as the only symptoms, while some present to a health care provider with sepsis, an infection of the blood, as the first symptoms. Diagnosis can be complicated by the fact that many elderly people have preexisting incontinence or dementia.

It is reasonable to obtain a urine culture in those with signs of systemic infection that may be unable to report urinary symptoms, such as when advanced dementia is present. Systemic signs of infection include a fever or increase in temperature of more than 1.1 °C (2.0 °F) from usual, chills, and an increase white blood cell count.

CAUSES:    
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.

The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.

E. coli is the cause of 80–85% of community-acquired urinary tract infections, with Staphylococcus saprophyticus being the cause in 5–10%. Rarely they may be due to viral or fungal infections. Healthcare-associated urinary tract infections (mostly related to urinary catheterization) involve a much broader range of pathogens including: E. coli (27%), Klebsiella (11%), Pseudomonas (11%), the fungal pathogen Candida albicans (9%), and Enterococcus (7%) among others. Urinary tract infections due to Staphylococcus aureus typically occur secondary to blood-borne infections. Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium can infect the urethra but not the bladder. These infections are usually classified as a urethritis rather than urinary tract infection

Sex:
In young sexually active women, sexual activity is the cause of 75–90% of bladder infections, with the risk of infection related to the frequency of sex. The term “honeymoon cystitis” has been applied to this phenomenon of frequent UTIs during early marriage. In post-menopausal women, sexual activity does not affect the risk of developing a UTI. Spermicide use, independent of sexual frequency, increases the risk of UTIs. Diaphragm use is also associated. Condom use without spermicide or use of birth control pills does not increase the risk of uncomplicated urinary tract infection.

Women are more prone to UTIs than men because, in females, the urethra is much shorter and closer to the anus. As a woman’s estrogen levels decrease with menopause, her risk of urinary tract infections increases due to the loss of protective vaginal flora. Additionally, vaginal atrophy that can sometimes occur after menopause is associated with recurrent urinary tract infections.

Chronic prostatitis may cause recurrent urinary tract infections in males. Risk of infections increases as males age. While bacteria is commonly present in the urine of older males this does not appear to affect the risk of urinary tract infections.

Urinary catheters:
Urinary catheterization increases the risk for urinary tract infections. The risk of bacteriuria (bacteria in the urine) is between three to six percent per day and prophylactic antibiotics are not effective in decreasing symptomatic infections. The risk of an associated infection can be decreased by catheterizing only when necessary, using aseptic technique for insertion, and maintaining unobstructed closed drainage of the catheter.

Male scuba divers utilizing condom catheters or the female divers utilizing external catching device for their dry suits are also susceptible to urinary tract infections.

Others:
A predisposition for bladder infections may run in families. Other risk factors include diabetes, being uncircumcised, and having a large prostate. Complicating factors are rather vague and include predisposing anatomic, functional, or metabolic abnormalities. In children UTIs are associated with vesicoureteral reflux (an abnormal movement of urine from the bladder into ureters or kidneys) and constipation.

Persons with spinal cord injury are at increased risk for urinary tract infection in part because of chronic use of catheter, and in part because of voiding dysfunction. It is the most common cause of infection in this population, as well as the most common cause of hospitalization. Additionally, use of cranberry juice or cranberry supplement appears to be ineffective in prevention and treatment in this population.

Pathogenesis:
The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections typically enter the bladder via the urethra. However, infection may also occur via the blood or lymph. It is believed that the bacteria are usually transmitted to the urethra from the bowel, with females at greater risk due to their anatomy. After gaining entry to the bladder, E. Coli are able to attach to the bladder wall and form a biofilm that resists the body’s immune response.

RISK FACTORS  &  COMPLICATIONS:
*Urinary tract abnormalities. Babies born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the body normally or cause urine to back up in the urethra have an increased risk of UTIs.

*Blockages in the urinary tract. Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
A suppressed immune system. Diabetes and other diseases that impair the immune system — the body’s defense against germs — can increase the risk of UTIs.

*Catheter use. People who can’t urinate on their own and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This may include people who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed.

*A recent urinary procedure. Urinary surgery or an exam of your urinary tract that involves medical instruments can both increase your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
When treated promptly and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences.

Complications of a UTI are as follows::

*Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience three or more UTIs.
*Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
*Increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants.
*Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.
*Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up to urinary tract to the kidneys.

DIAGNOSIS:
In straightforward cases, a diagnosis may be made and treatment given based on symptoms alone without further laboratory confirmation. In complicated or questionable cases, it may be useful to confirm the diagnosis via urinalysis, looking for the presence of urinary nitrites, white blood cells (leukocytes), or leukocyte esterase. Another test, urine microscopy, looks for the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, or bacteria. Urine culture is deemed positive if it shows a bacterial colony count of greater than or equal to 103 colony-forming units per mL of a typical urinary tract organism. Antibiotic sensitivity can also be tested with these cultures, making them useful in the selection of antibiotic treatment. However, women with negative cultures may still improve with antibiotic treatment. As symptoms can be vague and without reliable tests for urinary tract infections, diagnosis can be difficult in the elderly.

Classification:
A urinary tract infection may involve only the lower urinary tract, in which case it is known as a bladder infection. Alternatively, it may involve the upper urinary tract, in which case it is known as pyelonephritis. If the urine contains significant bacteria but there are no symptoms, the condition is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria. If a urinary tract infection involves the upper tract, and the person has diabetes mellitus, is pregnant, is male, or immunocompromised, it is considered complicated. Otherwise if a woman is healthy and premenopausal it is considered uncomplicated. In children when a urinary tract infection is associated with a fever, it is deemed to be an upper urinary tract infection.

Children:
To make the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection in children, a positive urinary culture is required. Contamination poses a frequent challenge depending on the method of collection used, thus a cutoff of 105 CFU/mL is used for a “clean-catch” mid stream sample, 104 CFU/mL is used for catheter-obtained specimens, and 102 CFU/mL is used for suprapubic aspirations (a sample drawn directly from the bladder with a needle). The use of “urine bags” to collect samples is discouraged by the World Health Organization due to the high rate of contamination when cultured, and catheterization is preferred in those not toilet trained. Some, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends renal ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram (watching a person’s urethra and urinary bladder with real time x-rays while they urinate) in all children less than two years old who have had a urinary tract infection. However, because there is a lack of effective treatment if problems are found, others such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence only recommends routine imaging in those less than six months old or who have unusual findings.

Differential diagnosis:
In women with cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) or vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) and in young men with UTI symptoms, a Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrheae infection may be the cause. These infections are typically classified as a urethritis rather than a urinary tract infection. Vaginitis may also be due to a yeast infection. Interstitial cystitis (chronic pain in the bladder) may be considered for people who experience multiple episodes of UTI symptoms but urine cultures remain negative and not improved with antibiotics. Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) may also be considered in the differential diagnosis.

Hemorrhagic cystitis, characterized by blood in the urine, can occur secondary to a number of causes including: infections, radiation therapy, underlying cancer, medications and toxins. Medications that commonly cause this problem include the chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide with rates of 2 to 40%. Eosinophilic cystitis is a rare condition where eosinophiles are present in the bladder wall. Signs and symptoms are similar to a bladder infection. Its cause is not entirely clear; however, it may be linked to food allergies, infections, and medications among others.

TREATMENTS;
Medications:
For those with recurrent infections, taking a short course of antibiotics when each infection occurs is associated with the lowest antibiotic use. A prolonged course of daily antibiotics is also effective. Medications frequently used include nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). Methenamine is another agent used for this purpose as in the bladder where the acidity is low it produces formaldehyde to which resistance does not develop. Some recommend against prolonged use due to concerns of antibiotic resistance.

In cases where infections are related to intercourse, taking antibiotics afterwards may be useful. In post-menopausal women, topical vaginal estrogen has been found to reduce recurrence. As opposed to topical creams, the use of vaginal estrogen from pessaries has not been as useful as low dose antibiotics. Antibiotics following short term urinary catheterization decreases the subsequent risk of a bladder infection. A number of vaccines are in development as of 2011.

Children:
The evidence that preventative antibiotics decrease urinary tract infections in children is poor. However recurrent UTIs are a rare cause of further kidney problems if there are no underlying abnormalities of the kidneys, resulting in less than a third of a percent (0.33%) of chronic kidney disease in adults. Whether routine circumcisions prevents UTIs has not been well studied as of 2011.

Alternative medicine:
Some research suggests that cranberry (juice or capsules) may decrease the number of UTIs in those with frequent infections. A Cochrane review concluded that the benefit, if it exists, is small. Long-term tolerance is also an issue with gastrointestinal upset occurring in more than 30%. Cranberry juice is thus not currently recommended for this indication. As of 2011, intravaginal probiotics require further study to determine if they are beneficial.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can take steps to ease your discomfort until antibiotics treat the infection.
The following tips should be followed:

*Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.

*Avoid drinks that may irritate the bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate the bladder and tend to aggravate frequent or urgent need to urinate.

*Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort.
PREVENTIONS:
The following steps can be taken to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections:

*Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.

*Drink cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.

*Wash  or  Wipe properly   from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.

*Empty the bladder soon after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.

*Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.

*Change the birth control method. Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_tract_infection
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/

Meyna spinosa Roxb.

Botanical Name: Meyna spinosa Roxb.
Family:    Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe:    Vanguerieae
Genus:    Meyna
KingdomPlantae
Clade:    Angiosperms
Clade:    Eudicots
Clade:    Asterids
Order:    Gentianales

Synonyms : Vangueria spinosa  (Roxb. ex Link) Roxb.; Vangueria spinosa var. mollis Hook. f.; Pyrostria spinosa (Roxb. ex Link) Miq.; Vangueria miqueliana Kurz ; Vangueria mollis Wall.; Vangueria stellata Blanco.

Common names: Mainakanta, Madan, Maniphal

Vernacular names in other Languages :

Bengali : Mainakanta, Maniphal, Madan | Sanskrit : Pinditaka | Hindi : Maniphal, Pundrika | Tribal : Serali | English : Voavanga | Other Languages : Manakkarai (Tam.) ; Cegagadda (Tel.) ; Moltakanta (Ori.)

Habitat :Mainakanta is native to tropical Asia & Africa.It grows in hot and humid climate with a slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.3-7.3) soil condition.

Description:
Meyna spinosa Roxb  is a thorny bushy shrub. The plant has straight, sharp spines and whorled green leaves arranged in opposite manner. Flowering season starts in late spring and lasts until early summer. It is distributed in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and also found in the plain lands of Java and Myanmar. In Bangladesh it is known as ‘Moyna’. Fruits of M. spinosa are reported to contain sugar, gum and tannic acid whereas the seeds contain esters of palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:

Chemical constituents: The present study was undertaken to investigate the antibacterial and cytotoxic activity of the ethanol extract of Meyna spinosa stem. Antibacterial activity was investigated against Staphylococcus aureus. Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli and Shigella dysenieriae by disc diffusion and broth macrodilution assay. In disk diffusion assay, the extract inhibited all the microorganisms except E. coli. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extract was 1000 μg/ml for S. aureus, S. pyogenes and E. coli, whereas 500 μg/mLfor S. dysenieriae. For cytotoxicity test, the extract was subjected to brine shrimp lethality bioassay. The LD50 of M. spinosa stem extract was found to be 40 μg/mL. Findings of the study justify the use of the plant in traditional medicine and suggests for further investigation.

Meyna spinosa Roxb., a medicinal plant enjoys it use in the traditional medicine in Bangladesh for the treatment of a number of ailments. Fruits are used in the treatment of fever, inflammation, biliary complaints and hepatic congestion. Leaves are used in bone fracture and in the treatment of diphtheria. The plant is also reported to be used traditionally in the treatment of skin irritation abortion and renal diseases .

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/83173978/antibacterial-cytotoxic-activity-meyna-spinosa-roxb-stem
http://thai-shopping-mall.com/muyna-meyna-spinosa-5-seeds-p-1375.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meyna
http://thinkinglaymen.org.in/plant_details.php?id=568a

Holarrhena Antidysenterica

Botanical Name : Holarrhena Antidysenterica
Family : Apocynaceae
Genus:Wrightia
Species:W. antidysenterica
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Gentianales
Common Name : Bitter Oleander, Connessi Bark, Kurchi Bark, , Dysentery Rose Bay, Tellicherry Bark,Kuda,Kutaj,Kutaja

. It is also known as “White Angel” in the Philippines

Bengali name :Kurchi
Part Used : Bark, Seeds
Habitat :Holarrhena Antidysenterica is native to tropical Himalayas, going up to an altitude of ,1,200 m. Also found throughout many forests  of India, in Travancore, Assam and Uttar Pradesh. Grows wild in mountains

Description:
It is a tall shurb or small tree, evergreen in nature.Leaves are smooth large, ovate in shape; and about 15-31 cms. long and 10 cms. broad.Flowers are cream coloured, fragrant and borne in bunches .The plant flowers profusely during February-March. fruits are thin and cylindrical, with two follicles attached together at distal ends. Special characteristics of Holarrhena antidysenterica. Fragrant flowers and twin fruits….

Click to see the pictures..………….....(01)........(1).…..(2)......(3)...

Medicinal Uses:
It is one of the best drug for diarrhoea. In chronic diarrhoea & to check blood coming from stool, it should be given with Isobgol, caster oil or Indrayav.

According to Ayurveda, the bark is useful in treatment of piles, skin diseases and biliousness.
The bark is used externally in case of skin troubles. The bark is mostly mixed with cow urine and applies it in affected parts. In treatment of urinary troubles, the bark is given with cow milk. The fresh juice of bark is considered good to check the diarrhoea. In bleeding piles Decoction of Kutaj bark with sunthi checks mucus & blood. Application of this herb is useful in Rh. Arthritis & Osteoarthritis. The bark is used in chest affections and as a remedy in diseases of the skin and spleen. It is a well known herb for amoebic dysentery and other gastric disorders.

Kutaja bark has been used in India in the treatment of amoebic dysentery and liver ailments resulting from amebiasis.  Conessine from the bark killed free living amoebae and also kills entamoeba histolytica in the dysenteric stools of experimentally infected kittens. It is markedly lethal to the flagellate protozoon. It is antitubercular also.  Conessine produced little effect on Trichomonas hominis but was markedly lethal to the flagellate protozoon.  It is a well known drug for amoebic dysentery and other gastric disorders. A clinical study records the presentation of forty cases with amochiasis and giardiasis. The efficacy of kutaja in intestinal amochiasis was 70%. Good response was also observed in Entamoeba histolytica cystpassers when treated with kutaja bark. The flowers improve appetite. The seeds are cooling, appetising and astringent to the bowels.

Today Conessi seed is used as a remedy for dysentery, diarrhea, intestinal worms, and irregular fever, though the actions are milder than that of the bark. Conessi bark is used to treat dysentery, but also is used for treating hemophilia disorders, skin diseases, and loss of appetite. It also works well in treating indigestion, flatulence, and colic.  The British materia medica regards it as one of the most valuable medicinal products of India.

It also has been used to treat various skin and stomach disorders. It is an astringent tonic for the skin. It is used against hot disorder of the gall bladder and stops dysentery.  Relieves cholecystitis and diarrhea associated with fever.   It is used in disorders of the genitourinary system and is helpful in the cases of impotence, spermatorrhea and seminal debilities.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.motherherbs.com/holarrhena-antidysenterica.html
http://green-source.blogspot.com/2009/06/kuda-kutaj-holarrhena-antidysenterica.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm
http://www.alibaba.com/product-tp/108122069/Holarrhena_Antidysenterica.html
http://www.greenearthproducts.net/ficus-bengalensis.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrightia_antidysenterica

Broom Moss

Botanical Name :Dicranum scoparium
Family: Dicranaceae
Genus: Dicranum
Species: D. scoparium
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Bryopsida
Subclass: Dicranidae
Order: Dicranales

Common Name :Broom Moss

Habitat :Broom Moss is native to North America, including the Great Lakes region.Grows on  Soil, humus, humus over rock, decaying stumps and logs, tree bases in dry to mesic woodlands.

Description:
Plants in loose to dense tufts, light to dark green, glossy to sometimes dull. Stems 2-10 cm, tomentose with white to brown rhizoids. Leaves very variable, usually falcate-secund, rarely straight and erect, slightly contorted and crisped when dry, sometimes slightly rugose or undulate, (4-)5-8.5(-15) × 0.8-1.8 mm, concave proximally, keeled above, lanceolate, apex acute to somewhat obtuse; margins strongly serrate in the distal 1/3 or rarely slightly serrulate; laminae 1-stratose; costa percurrent, excurrent, or ending before apex, 1/10-1/5 the width of the leaves at base, usually with 2-4 toothed ridges above on abaxial surface, with a row of guide cells, two thin stereid bands, adaxial epidermal layer of cells not differentiated, the abaxial layer interrupted by several enlarged cells that form part of the abaxial ridge, not extending to the apices; cell walls between lamina cells not bulging; leaf cells smooth; alar cells 2-stratose, well- differentiated, sometimes extending to costa; proximal laminal cells linear-rectangular, pitted, (25-)47-100(-132) × (5-)7-12(-13) µm; distal laminal cells shorter, broad, sinuose, pitted, (11-)27-43(-53) × (5-)8-12(-20) µm

Click to see the pictures…..…(01)......(1)……....(2).……....(3).…………………

Capsules mature spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The CH2Cl2 extract of Dicranum scoparium was found to possess pronounced antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus stearothermophilus, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicranum_scoparium
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200000987
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=DISC71&photoID=disc71_005_ahp.jpg
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Giardiasis

Alternative NamesGiardia; Traveler’s diarrhea – giardiasis

Definition:

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by a protozoan and is spread by contaminated water or contact with an infected person.
Giardiasis  or beaver fever in humans is a diarrheal infection of the small intestine by a single-celled organism called Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis occurs worldwide with a prevalence of 20–30% in developing countries. In the USA, 20,000 cases are reported to the CDC annually, but the true annual incidence is estimated at 2 million people. Giardia has a wide range of mammalian hosts besides humans, thus making it very difficult to eradicate. For people with compromised immune systems, such as elderly or AIDS patients, giardiasis can be deadly

CLICK & SEE

The parasite was first identified in 1681 by Anton von Leeuwenhoek, the ‘father of microbiology’. In 1859 a Bohemian doctor, Vilem Lambl, found giardia in human faeces and from then on it was thought to be a harmless occupant of the intestines. It wasn’t until the 1970s that giardia was given its true status as one of the world’s most common causes of diarrhoeal illness.

Giardia is a type of single-celled organism called a protozoon. It first came to light in the UK as an important cause of diarrhoea among those returning from abroad. It’s a major cause of childhood diarrhoea in developing countries and is also common in Eastern Europe and across the US. However, giardia can be found around the globe and is the most common gut parasite in the

Symptoms:
One reason it can be difficult to control the spread of giardia is that as many as 15 per cent of those carrying the organism have no symptoms. They become a source of the parasite, contaminating the environment without realising it.

However, most people develop a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms like:

*Indigestion
•Abdominal pain
•Watery diarrhoea,
•Gas or bloating
•Headache
•Loss of appetite
•Low-grade fever
•Nausea and stomach cramps
•Swollen or distended abdomen
•Vomiting

CLICK & SEE

These symptoms can persist for several weeks and, without treatment, can lead to dehydration and weight loss. In developing countries, where people (especially children) may already be malnourished, an infection can prove fatal.

Causes:
People or animals carrying giardia in their intestines pass it out in their faeces. The parasite is then spread through poor hygiene or contaminated soil, food or water (see box below). With a tough outer shell, the parasite can survive for long periods outside a host body. A person only needs to pic1982k up a few giardia cysts for infection to develop.

•Putting something in your mouth that has been contaminated by faeces from an infected person or animal.
•Drinking contaminated water. Public water supplies in the UK are considered to be at low risk as giardia is killed by adequate chlorination.
•Swallowing water during recreation that is contaminated with sewage – for example, in swimming pools, jacuzzis, lakes, rivers or ponds.
•Eating contaminated food. One report found cases linked to the consumption of lettuce.
•Coming in contact with surfaces or objects that have been contaminated by an infected person.

Giardiasis outbreaks can occur in communities in both developed and developing countries where water supplies become contaminated with raw sewage.

It can be contracted by drinking water from lakes or streams where water-dwelling animals such as beavers and muskrats, or domestic animals such as sheep, have caused contamination. It is also spread by direct person-to-person contact, which has caused outbreaks in institutions such as day care centers.

Travelers are at risk for giardiasis throughout the world. Campers and hikers are at risk if they drink untreated water from streams and lakes. Other risk factors include:

•Exposure to a family member with giardiasis
•Institutional (day care or nursing home) exposure
•Unprotected anal sex

Possible Complications:
•Dehydration
•Malabsorption (inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract)
•Weight loss

Diagnosis:.
Giardiasis is diagnosed by checking stool samples for the parasite. It can be difficult to find, though, and it’s often necessary to send several samples for analysis.

Tests that may be done include:
•Enteroscopy
•Stool antigen test to check for Giardia
•Stool ova and parasites exam
•String test (rarely performed)
This disease may also affect the results of the following tests:

•D-xylose absorption
•Small bowel tissue biopsy
•Smear of duodenal aspirated fluid

Treatment:
Some people recover completely from giardiasis without specific treatment. For other, the infection persists for weeks or even months. Treatment with antibiotics will shorten the course of the illness and reduce the risk of spread to others. Antibiotic therapy is particularly important for those, such as young children, who are at greater risk.

Steps should also be taken to treat or prevent dehydration, and people with giardiasis should drink plenty of fluids. Severe dehydration may need hospital treatment, with an intravenous drip.

Cure rates are generally greater than 80%. Drug resistance may be a factor in treatment failures, sometimes requiring a change in antibiotic therapy.

In pregnant women, treatment should wait until after delivery, because some drugs used to treat the infection can be harmful to the unborn baby.

Prognosis:
It is common for the infection to go away on its own. However, persistent infections have been reported and need further antibiotic treatment. Some people who have had Giardia infections for a long time continue having symptoms even after the infection has gone.

Prevention:
Good hygiene should help to keep you safe from giardia. Always wash your hands after using the toilet or changing nappies, and before handling food. Don’t share towels.

Don’t swim, or let your children swim, in pools, rivers, lakes or the sea during an episode of diarrhoea, and for at least two weeks after treatment.

When abroad, make sure the water supply is safe, or drink only purified or bottled water. Also avoid ice in drinks, and fruit and salad vegetables washed in tap water.

Avoid exposure to faeces during sexual activity (homosexual men may be at increased risk of infection).

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/giardiasis1.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giardiasis.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000288.htm

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