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Giardia - Essay Example

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Giardiasis Name Institution Course Giardiasis Giardia is a parasite that scientists have described as the causative agent of the diarrheal infection named giardiasis. Giardiasis is a common infection in many parts of the globe, because of the fact that Giardia parasites occur in all continents on soils, water, and surfaces…
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Download file to see previous pages Identification of the Disease Giardiasis is an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Other common names are lambliasis and beaver fever. After infection with the parasite, the individual suffers a diarrheal infection after the first week (Berger, 2011). The infection has been categorized as a global problem because of its prevalence in many parts of the world. The name ‘beaver fever’ emerged after research indicated that the disease was common amongst backpackers and campers. The science community ascertained the link between the giardia parasite and the diarrheal infection in the 1970s, although they had known the parasite since the 17th century. The diarrheal infection does not present any mortality rates unless in individuals exhibiting a compromised immune system. Many of the people infected with the parasite have been reported to exhibit minimal symptoms. Other researches indicate that there are cases that are more serious, and the infection can cause diarrhea for about two weeks. Description of the Organism The parasite giardiasis is the causative agent of a common diarrheal infection that has existed for a long time. Van Leeuwenhoek discovered the parasite in 1681. Using microscope, he highlighted that the parasite exhibited slow movement, and had flagella that facilitated the movement. He also classified the parasite as one of the simple eukaryotes. Other scientists developed interest in the parasite in the centuries that followed, and sought to describe it further. From advanced studies, it became evident that Leeuwenhoek had observed the parasites in the trophozoite phase. This was after the discovery that the parasite exhibited two different stages of life. According to the findings of 1880, it became evident that the parasite had both the trophozoite cysts stages (Parker & Parker, 2004). During the cyst stage, the flagella were invisible. Scientists have described the cyst stage as a dormant phase in which the parasite forms a protective wall around itself. This wall makes the parasite resistant to temperature changes, osmotic differences, pollution, and nutritional shortage. Further studies revealed that the cysts have the potential to remain viable for long periods without the having access to water and food. Usually, this serves as the infective stage of the parasite as many people get the infection from swallowing water infested with cysts. After entry into the gastrointestinal tract, the parasite moves from the cyst into the trophozoite stage. In this stage, the parasite engages in obtaining nutrients in the intestines and reproduces. The flagella are visible during this phase of Giardia (Russell and Cohn,2013). Biologists have described the trophozoite as having the ability to attach to the intestinal villi, where they depend on mucosal secretions for nutrition. In size, the trophozoites are 9-21 micrometers long, 5-15 micrometers wide, and 2-4 micrometers in thickness. When viewed under the microscope, they depict a pear shape that has a round end on the anterior side, two nuclei, as well as two distinctive median rods. The trophozoite also exhibits motion with the four pairs of flagella evident on each cell. In its ventral body, the organism has an adhesive disc that facilitates its attachment to the intestines. The organism reproduces by asexual binary fission, with the production of a new generation every five hours. Some trophozoites detach themselves from the intestines and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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