Prevention and Treatment

Filtration of community water supplies is effective. When hiking, the best way to make drinking water safe from giardiasis is to boil it for 1 minute. Using a few drops per quart of water of household sodium hypochlorite bleach, tincture of iodine, or commercial water-purifying tablets, is also effective. As in all sterilization procedures, however, time and temperature are important. Only an hour may be necessary to treat warm water, but many hours are required to kill cysts in cold water. Several medicines, including quinacrine (Atabrine) and metronidazole (Flagyl), effectively treat giardiasis.

Table 24.13 describes the main features of giardiasis.


Cryptosporidiosis, disease caused by the Cryptosporidium genus ofprotozoa, was recognized in animals in the early 1900s, but not identified as a threat to human beings until the AIDS epidemic struck in the early 1980s. Since then, it has become clear that cryp-tosporidiosis is a major hazard not only to those with immunodeficiency, but to the public at large. A 1993 waterborne outbreak of the disease in Milwaukee involved more than 403,000 people!

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