Giardia infection can occur through ingestion of dormant cysts in contaminated water, food, or by the fecal-oral route due to poor hygiene practices.
The Giardia cyst can survive for weeks to months in warm water, and can be present in contaminated wells and water systems - especially in stagnant water sources such as naturally occurring ponds, storm water storage systems, and even clean-looking mountain streams. They may also occur in city reservoirs and persist after water treatment since the cysts are resistant to conventional water treatment methods such as chlorination. Zoonotic transmission is also possible so Giardia infection is a concern for people camping in wilderness areas, or for those swimming in contaminated streams or lakes.
Fecal-oral transmission can occur in day care centerswhere children may have poor hygiene practices. Those who work with children are at risk of being infected, as are family members of infected individuals.
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