Giardia lamblia

Giardia lamblia

MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET - INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES

SECTION I - INFECTIOUS AGENT

NAME: Giardia lamblia

SYNONYM OR CROSS REFERENCE: G. intestinalis, G. duodenalis, giardiasis, giardia enteritis, Lambliasis, lamblia intestinalis, "beaver fever"

CHARACTERISTICS: Single celled flagellated protozoa, trophozoite (9-21 µm long, 5-15 µm wide and 2-4 µm thick), "tear drop" shape, contains 2 nuclei at anterior end and 5 flagella with tumbling motility; cyst form develops in the colon (13 µm long, oval shape and 2 nuclei)

SECTION II - HEALTH HAZARD

PATHOGENICITY: Varies from asymptomatic in most individuals to a sudden onset of diarrhea with foul-smelling, greasy-looking stool that lacks mucous and blood; associated with abdominal cramps, bloating, fatigue and weight loss; restricted to upper small intestine with no invasion; normally illness lasts 1 - 2 weeks; chronic infections can last months to years

EPIDEMIOLOGY: Worldwide; prevalent in areas with poor sanitation; outbreaks more common in children than in adults; waterborne outbreaks are common where unfiltered waters are routinely contaminated by human and animal feces; daycare centres and cause of travellers diarrhea; most frequent cause of non-bacterial diarrhea in North America (25 % of gastrointestinal disease)

HOST RANGE: Humans; wild (beavers and bears) and domestic animals (dogs and cats)

INFECTIOUS DOSE: Less than 10 cysts when given orally, may even be as low as 1 cyst

MODE OF TRANSMISSION: Person-to-person, faecal-oral route is most important (hand to mouth transfer of cysts); infected food handlers; one person can pass 106 cysts each day; ingestion of fecally-contaminated water and food are also mechanisms for transmission, found in soil and on surfaces; anal intercourse also facilitates transmission

INCUBATION PERIOD: From 3 - 25 days, usually 7 - 10 days

COMMUNICABILITY: Cysts are shed during the entire period of infection, often months

SECTION III - DISSEMINATION

RESERVOIR: Humans, wild and domestic animals

ZOONOSIS: Beaver considered zoonotic reservoir for water-borne infection in headwaters of many cold water streams

VECTORS: None

SECTION IV - VIABILITY

DRUG SUSCEPTIBILITY: Sensitive to quinacrine hydrochloride, metronidazole, tinidazole, albendazole and furazolidone

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: Susceptible to 1% sodium hypochlorite (chlorine in drinking water not sufficient, especially if water is cold), 2% glutaraldehyde

PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: Boiling for minimum of 1 minute

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: Cysts remains infectious for prolonged periods in the environment, cysts are resistance to adverse environmental conditions

SECTION V - MEDICAL

SURVEILLANCE: Monitor for symptoms; confirm by microscopic demonstration of trophozoite and cysts in feces, stained preparations or unstained wet mounts; ELISA

FIRST AID/TREATMENT: Administer appropriate drug therapy

IMMUNIZATION: None available

PROPHYLAXIS: None available

SECTION VI - LABORATORY HAZARDS

LABORATORY-ACQUIRED INFECTIONS: Two cases were reported up to 1987

SOURCES/SPECIMENS: Feces, duodenal secretions

PRIMARY HAZARDS: Ingestion

SPECIAL HAZARDS: None

SECTION VII - RECOMMENDED PRECAUTIONS

CONTAINMENT REQUIREMENTS: Biosafety level 2 practices and containment facilities are recommended for activities with infective stages of mammalian Giardia spp. and infectious body fluids and tissues

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Laboratory coat; gloves when skin contact with infectious materials is unavoidable

OTHER PRECAUTIONS: Good personal hygienic practices - hand washing before handling food and before eating

SECTION VIII - HANDLING INFORMATION

SPILLS: Allow aerosols to settle; wearing protective clothing gently cover the spill with absorbent paper towel and apply 1% sodium hypochlorite starting at the perimeter and working towards the center; allow sufficient contact time (30 min) before clean up

DISPOSAL: Decontaminate all wastes before disposal; steam sterilization, chemical disinfection, incineration

STORAGE: In sealed containers that are appropriately labelled

SECTION IX - MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

Date prepared: April, 2001

Prepared by: Office of Laboratory Security, PHAC

Although the information, opinions and recommendations contained in this Material Safety Data Sheet are compiled from sources believed to be reliable, we accept no responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability or for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information. Newly discovered hazards are frequent and this information may not be completely up to date.

Copyright © Health Canada, 2001

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