Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Giardia Outbreak


Display Avatars Sort By:
mitchell Keil
(mkeil)

Locale: Surf City
Giardia Outbreak on 04/23/2012 10:28:25 MDT Print View

Ok Community. I need some feedback. I came down with Giardia the first week of March and did not realize that's what it was until about a week ago when I had the stool test done. What a surprise to me! I have been backpacking for more than 35 years and have never once had a case of Giardia. I am extremely careful to treat my water with the Cholrine Dioxide pills and to boil my cooking water. The stream from which I got it(apparently) has always been a source of fast running water. When my wife told her sister about my experience,her sister told her that both of her dogs had gotten it too and that the Vet told her that he has seen an explosion of Giardia in animals. Later I found the same response from another Vet we know, locally.
Anyone haver annecdotal evidence of an upswing in the Giardia in their area? Any comments of this uptick in contamination? My wife's sister lives in Marin above San Francisco and we live in Orange County Ca which is Southern CA. ALso called a friend who lives out in Riverside and owns a horse ranch. She says her Vet said the same thing.

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
Giardia on 04/23/2012 10:35:15 MDT Print View

Like you Mitchell, I've never been infected with Giardia and I rarely treat my water. Where was the stream you think was the source? I backpack in So. Calif. so I have a vested interest.

Edited by amrowinc on 11/16/2013 11:59:10 MST.

Stephan Doyle
(StephanCal)
Re: Giardia Outbreak on 04/23/2012 10:42:38 MDT Print View

Studies have shown backcountry water sources (specifically ones we consider good) carry only a small portion of our giardia risk. Washing your hands (or, more precisely, the other members of your backcountry party washing their hands) mitigates a risk significantly more hazardous.

You're more likely to get giardia from your YMCA swimming pool than safe backcountry streams (i.e. as you described).

Many more risk factors involved. Likely not water contaminants.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
RE: Giardia Outbreak on 04/23/2012 10:52:07 MDT Print View

As Don stated above, any further details you can provide will be helpful for us that backpack around the SoCal area.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
What creek? on 04/23/2012 11:55:04 MDT Print View

Here's another SoCal hiker who would like to know which creek you got giardia from!

mitchell Keil
(mkeil)

Locale: Surf City
Re: Giardia on 04/23/2012 12:52:47 MDT Print View

Got it in the stream which runs through DeVore Camp out of Chantry Flats. This stream is known as the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. It is at the Juncture of the Newcomb Pass trail and the Gabrielleno Trail from Red Box.
Wanted to add some info:
I always hike alone. I always treat my drinking water and boil my cooking water. I also use bleach to treat my wash water and wash my hands in this solution. I usually wash my face and pits using stream water when I get into camp. I have hiked this trail and stayed at this site dozens of times over the years and never had any problems with the water. But as I found out, just a few cysts can get you and then they bred explosively in you gut. Look up the symptoms using google. I really didn't believe I had it for weeks until the doc and my wife convinced me to get the stool test (not fun). the cure is quick with a twice a day for 7 days dosage of antibiotics.

NEVER drink untreated water, period.

Edited by mkeil on 04/23/2012 13:11:16 MDT.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: Re: Giardia on 04/23/2012 12:59:50 MDT Print View

Good to know. I frequent this area with my kids, I may need to up my water treatment systems. However, I am surprised that boiling water wasn't sufficient enough.

Might I ask what prompted you to get checked for Giardia? Or was this just something the Doc just found when performing his tests?

In any case, thanks for the information.

mitchell Keil
(mkeil)

Locale: Surf City
Re: Giardia on 04/23/2012 13:23:36 MDT Print View

Angus
I have wracked my brain looking for a vector and the only thing I can come up with is that I must have gotten some in my nose or mouth washing my face with untreated stream water. It only takes a couple of cysts to do the job.
My symptoms were interesting:
I went to bed one evening and felt fine. When I got up the next morning I really felt as if I had a case of the flu. Aching muscles, nausea, rumbling flatulence in my gut, bloating but no fever. For weeks I had this nausea and flatuence with bloating. Very soft and loose stool which smelled terrible. I lost my appetite and lost 10 lbs over the month I have had this. Only once did I have explosive and watery diareaha and vomiting. I even went through a week when I felt fine and thought I was out of the woods with whatever I had had. then I relapsed for about a week and that is when I saw the doc about it and said "sounds like giardia to me".

Edited by mkeil on 04/23/2012 13:24:49 MDT.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Locale: http://theshadedtrail.blogspot.com
Re: Re: Giardia on 04/23/2012 14:15:04 MDT Print View

Wow! It's a good thing you're out of the woods now so to speak.

I may have to just take a little more precaution with the water especially when I have my kids along. Thanks again for the information.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Giardia on 04/23/2012 14:40:40 MDT Print View

"the cure is quick with a twice a day for 7 days dosage of antibiotics."

That is interesting, because antibiotics generally treat bacterial infections. If you want to treat Giardia, you need to use an anti-parasite drug such as Flagyl.

--B.G.--

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: Giardia on 04/23/2012 14:51:59 MDT Print View

I remember an episode of survivorman where Les warned the audience that you can get giardia by getting the water in your eyes or nose. That's probably what happened here.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Giardia - ??antibiotics?? on 04/23/2012 15:57:06 MDT Print View

> the cure is quick with a twice a day for 7 days dosage of antibiotics.
I don't know what the doctor gave you, but I an fairly sure antibiotics cannot cure a Giardia parasite (protozoan) infection.

The normal treatment is one dose of Flagyl. The cure often feels worse than the infection.

Cheers
Edit:
But I see that Flagyl is an antibiotic. My mistake.

Edited by rcaffin on 04/24/2012 17:12:57 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Giardia - ??antibiotics?? on 04/23/2012 16:36:11 MDT Print View

"The normal treatment is one dose of Flagyl."

In North America, one course of Flagyl is normally spread over 4-5 days. In an emergency situation, that same amount can be administered within a single day, but the patient may regret it.

--B.G.--

Randy Cain
(bagboy) - MLife

Locale: Palmdale, CA
Flagyl on 04/23/2012 17:34:25 MDT Print View

Flagyl IS an antibiotic. It's used for both bacteria and parasites.

On a slightly different note, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers is not effective against spores (crypto, giardia, C. diff, etc.) In fact, hospitals are seeing more and more clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections that cause a wicked nasty diarrhea and even sometimes lead to surgical removal of the large intestines in some really sick folks (mostly elderly). It's a nasty little spore, and hospital infection control protocols call for hand washing as the only effective means of getting the crap off your hands. They specifically note that hand sanitizers will not work on the spores. Frustrating stuff!!!!

Edited by bagboy on 04/23/2012 17:37:13 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Giardia - ??antibiotics?? on 04/23/2012 17:37:24 MDT Print View

""The normal treatment is one dose of Flagyl."

In North America, one course of Flagyl is normally spread over 4-5 days. In an emergency situation, that same amount can be administered within a single day, but the patient may regret it."

Either way, the only treatment I have ever heard of for Giardia or Amoebic Dysentery is Flagyl or a slightly different version called Tindamax(tinidazole). The interesting thing is that both are classified as antibiotics because they are used to treat certain bacterial infections as well as for parasites.

http://www.webmd.boots.com/digestive-disorders/amoebic-dysentery-antibiotics-tinidazole-and-metronidazole

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Giardia Outbreak on 04/23/2012 19:02:24 MDT Print View

My dog got giardiasis last September--he almost literally exploded over most of the car! We drove the rest of the way with all windows down and stopping every 20 minutes to let him out for more explosions. It was lots of "fun" cleaning that up! I never realized there were so many nooks and crannies in a compact station wagon! Needless to say, I wore rubber gloves and used lots of Lysol. A good argument for filtering the dog's water, which at least considerably reduces the amount he laps up from lakes and streams.

He had two more episodes in the following weeks, but fortunately was able to get outside before exploding. The vet prescribed Flagyl, which seems to have done its job.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Giardia - ??antibiotics?? on 04/23/2012 20:11:14 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

> In North America, one course of Flagyl is normally spread over 4-5 days.
Over 4-5 days? You guys are wimps! :-)

> In an emergency situation, that same amount can be administered within a single day,
> but the patient may regret it.
Oh, trust me, you DO regret it!

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Giardia - ??antibiotics?? on 04/23/2012 20:24:43 MDT Print View

While trekking in Nepal, one woman was showing sudden and severe symptoms one day, and she was diagnosed and treated by two western doctors. They gave her options for a 4-5 day course, followed by an additional rest day, or else a sudden course with all of that compressed into 24 hours. She took the latter, but she was as weak as a kitten afterward.

--B.G.--

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
giardia on 04/23/2012 21:01:24 MDT Print View

Giardia has been accurately described as the dead-body disease. Whether treated or not (I've never been afflicted, but good friends have) half the time you think you are afraid you will die, and half the time you are afraid you won't. Treatment or no, it's chronic - it'll come back periodically, though Flagyl sometimes (but not always) will prevent recurrences. Good reasons to filter and treat (manufacturer's recommended strength - no dilution) with chlorine dioxide all - repeat all - backcountry water. However unlikely it is you'll contract giardia, the consequences of getting it are so severe that it's worth every precaution to prevent it.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: giardia on 04/24/2012 07:53:45 MDT Print View

"Good reasons to filter and treat"

Yet in this case he did filter and treat but got it anyway