Giardia and Cryptosporidium are microscopic parasites that can be found in water. Giardia causes an intestinal illness called giardiasis or "beaver fever." Cryptosporidium is responsible for a similar illness called cryptosporidiosis.


How do these parasites cause illness?


Both parasites produce cysts that are very resistant to harsh environmental conditions. When ingested, they germinate, reproduce, and cause illness. After feeding, the parasites form new cysts, which are then passed in the feces. Studies with human volunteers have shown that ingestion of only a few cysts will cause illness.


Health Effects


Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, gas, malaise, and weight loss are the most common symptoms caused by Giardia. Vomiting, chills, headache, and fever may also occur. These symptoms usually surface six to 16 days after the initial contact and can continue as long as one month.


The symptoms of cryptosporidiosis are similar; the most common include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and headaches. These symptoms occur within two to 25 days of infection and usually last one or two weeks; in some cases they stick around for up to a month.


Solutions


The most common methods of treating Parasites is using a multi-media filter or mechanical filtration, sediment filter.

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