Giardia lamblia infection increases risk of chronic gastrointestinal disorders

Megan Dormond, Ramiro L. Gutierrez, Chad K. Porter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Giardia lamblia is a common parasitic cause of infectious gastroenteritis in the United States and the world and may be linked to an increased risk of chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. We sought to assess the risk of several chronic GI disorders following Giardia infection among active duty US military personnel. Methods: This study was designed as a retrospective cohort study in which active duty military personnel with documented G. lamblia infection were assessed for the subsequent risk of developing a chronic GI disorder including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Post-giardia chronic GI disorder risk was compared to risk in uninfected personnel matched on several demographic characteristics and medical encounter information. Data were obtained from the Defense Medical Surveillance System and exposures (1998-2009) with outcomes identified based on documented medical encounters with specific medical billing codes. Modified Poisson regression was used to evaluate the relationship between G. lamblia infection and chronic GI disorders. Results: A total of 80 Giardia cases were identified for an estimated incidence of 0.55 cases per 100,000 person-years. Cases were matched to 294 unexposed subjects. After adjusting for important covariates, there was an increased risk of IBS (relative risk: 2.1, p = 0.03) associated with antecedent Giardia infection. Conclusion: These data add to a growing body of literature and demonstrate an increased risk of IBS after infection with G. lamblia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalTropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Giardia lamblia
  • Infectious gastroenteritis
  • Post infectious


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