To a parasitologist, Giardia may arguably be described as an aesthetically beautiful parasite but there is no denying that it has a distinctly ugly impact.
Well known to many Australians, infection with this protozoan parasite causes diarrhoea and resulting dehydration both of which may vary in severity. The effects are generally worse in the young and the elderly.
Once diagnosed, treatment is simple, quick and effective, but left untreated, infections may last weeks or even years.
You can reduce your risk of infection by practising good personal hygiene. Teach children to wash their hands before eating, after handling animals or going to the toilet.
Giardiasis can also be contracted through contaminated water, so if in doubt, boil water and allow it to cool before drinking.
Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.