This recent threat in the Adirondacks comes to us via the rivers and waterways. Giardia is ten microns in size very small: 16,000 cysts sit on a pinhead. This tiny protozoan, when ingested, loges in our small intestine and causes a diarrhea virus which requires antibiotics for a complete cure. It is best related to Mexico’s “Montezuma’s Revenge”, but in our case, a “Marcy’s Doom”. It is to be avoided.
The parasite is spread when an infected individual defecates very close to a stream or water system. As it rains, the cysts are easily drained into the waterways and travel downstream to the next unsuspecting camper. Giardia hosts in any warmblooded creature: deer, dog, beaver, bear, and man.
The worst part of the Giardia cyst is that the infection develops two weeks after ingestion. So the individual, without realizing it, will pass on other cysts in his feces.
The following guidelines will help us all minimize this unseen threat. So be careful out there!!
To prevent receiving Giardia:
- Boil your water at a rolling boil for four minutes.
- Use a water purifaction device with a 6 micron filter, ie: H20K or First Need.
- Water Purification Tablets. Let the tablets dissolve and sit for 30 minutes before drinking.
To prevent others from receiving Giardia:
- Please go to the Outdoor Bathroom as far from a stream as possible, a minimum of 200 feet.
- Use well-drained (high ground) land if possible. The earth acts as an excellent Giardia filter.
- Waste should be buried at least five inches deep and the soil and vegetation replaced, i.e.: dig a hole.