AMI IMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY AMI IMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Giardia lamblia protozoan. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a Giardia lamblia trophozoite, showing the ventral adhesive disk (centre right), which it uses to attach itself to its host. Giardia are single-celled parasites of the intestinal tract. They are most common in tropical regions and have flagella (hair-like structures), which are used for locomotion. This is the trophozoite (active, feeding) life stage of the protozoan. Giardia lamblia is the causative agent of giardiasis, an intestinal disease that causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea. It is spread through contaminated food and water. Treatment is with antibiotics or antiprotozoal drugs, such as metronidazole.
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