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Giardiasis in the Child Care Setting

Giardiasis in the Child Care Setting

Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by a parasite, Giardia lamblia. Many children infected with giardia have no symptoms. Other children may have foul-smelling, greasy diarrhea, gas, stomach aches, fatigue, and weight loss. Giardia can easily be spread in the child's home and parents and siblings may become infected.

Giardia is spread from person to person when a person touches the stool of or an object which has been contaminated by the stool of an infected person and then ingests the germs. Infection is often spread by not properly washing hands after bowel movements, after changing diapers, or before preparing foods. Giardia may also be transmitted through contaminated water, such as in water play tables. Outbreaks have also been linked to portable wading pools and contaminated water supplies.

To prevent the spread of giardiasis in your child care facility: Exclude any child or adult with acute diarrhea. Make sure that all children and adults practice good handwashing technique, using paper towels. In a large child care facility, the person preparing food should not change diapers. In a small child care facility, the child care provider should carefully wash hands after changing diapers and before handling foods. If possible, keep diapered children apart from toilet-trained children. Wash and disinfect toys that can be put in a child's mouth after each child's use. Refer to the discussion on cleaning toys in the "Disinfection" section of the chapter on “Protective Practices.” Use diapers that can contain liquid stool or urine. Make sure that diapers have waterproof outer covers or use plastic pants. Children should wear clothes over diapers. Do not use portable wading pools. Wash children’s hands before they use water play tables.

Note: This information is not intended to take the place of your state's or locality's child care regulations and laws. In every case, the laws and regulations of the city, county, and state in which the child care facility is located must be carefully followed even if they differ from these recommendations.

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