Diarrhea Home > Giardia Transmission

Giardia transmission occurs when a person swallows something (such as pool, river, or lake water) that is infected with the Giardia lamblia parasite. The parasite is not transmitted through contact with blood. Other common methods of Giardia transmission include accidentally swallowing Giardia picked up from surfaces contaminated with feces from an infected person or eating uncooked food contaminated with Giardia.

Giardia Transmission: An Overview

Giardia transmission occurs when a person accidentally ingests the Giardia parasite.

Understanding Giardia Transmission

The Giardia parasite lives in the intestine of infected humans or animals. Millions of germs can be released in a bowel movement from an infected human or animal. Giardia is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces from infected humans or animals. Giardia transmission only occurs by accidentally swallowing the parasite; you cannot become infected with Giardia through contact with blood.

Examples of Giardia Transmission

Giardia can be spread by:
  • Accidentally putting something into your mouth or swallowing something that has come into contact with the feces of a person or animal infected with Giardia.
  • Swallowing recreational water contaminated with Giardia. Recreational water includes water in swimming pools, hot tubs, rivers, fountains, lakes, ponds, springs, or streams that can be contaminated with sewage or feces from humans or animals.
  • Accidentally swallowing Giardia picked up from surfaces (such as bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails, or toys) contaminated with feces from an infected person.
  • Eating uncooked food contaminated with Giardia.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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