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Giardia protozoans. Artwork of the surface of an intestine with several Giardia sp. protozoa. These have flagella (tails) and so are called flagellate protozoa. They are single-celled micro-organisms. These protozoa attach to the lining of the intestines, seen here as numerous 'fingers' or microvilli. The underside of one is seen at upper centre. A severe infestation will reduce liquid absorption through the intestines, and may cause diarrhoea. Drug treatment may be required, as well as fluid intake to relieve dehydration. Infection is normally through direct contact or ingestion of contaminated food or water.
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