According to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) Communicable Disease Epidemiology Section (CDES), Wisconsin has experienced an increase in the incidence of giardiasis cases statewide this year. The majority of the increase occurred in the Northern and Northeastern regions of the state.
Through Nov. 5, Giardia cases climbed to 690 this year compared to 471 cases in 2015. The Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) has not identified any outbreaks linked to a common source yet.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of 11,201 Giardia cases through the first 10 months of 2016.
Giardiasis is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia. Anyone can get Giardia by drinking improperly treated surface water (lakes, rivers, streams, etc). The parasite which causes Giardia is passed in feces (stool) of an infected person or animal and may contaminate water or food.
It can spread by direct or indirect contact with fecal material from an infected person or animal. Symptoms of Giardia may include: mild to severe diarrhea, increased flatulence, abdominal cramps, weight loss and bloating. Symptoms appear within 3-25 days after exposure but usually occur in 7-10 days.