Giardia (sometimes known as "Beaver Fever) is a microbial pathogen present in varying concentrations in many surface waters and ground water under the influence of surface water. It is removed/inactivated through a combination of filtration and disinfection or by disinfection.
Ingestion of Giardia may cause giardiasis, an intestinal illness. People exposed to Giardia may experience mild or severe diarrhea, or in some instances, no symptoms at all. Fever is rarely present. Occasionally, some individuals will have chronic diarrhea over several weeks, with significant weight loss.
Giardiasis can be treated with anti-parasitic medication. Individuals with weakened immune systems should consult with their health care provider about what steps would best reduce their risks of becoming infected. Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to Giardiasis should contact their health care provider immediately. The Giardia parasite is passed in the feces of an infected person or animal and may contaminate water or food. Person to person transmission may also occur in day care centers or other settings where hand-washing practices are poor.