Chronic Fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome -10 years after Giardia Infection!

A recent study (S Litleskare et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1064-72) involved prospective follow-up of 1252 laboratory-confirmed cases of giardiasis from a 2004 outbreak in Norway.

Key findings:

  • Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was 43% 10 years after the outbreak among 576 exposed individuals compared with 14% among 685 controls. Thus, the odds ration of developing IBS was 4.74 following Giardia exposure.
  • Chronic fatigue at 10 years was higher as well, reported in 26% in the exposed group compared with 11% in the control group.
  • The authors note that the change in IBS between 6 years and 10 years following the infection was 40% and 43% respectively and the change in chronic fatigue was 31% at 6 years and 26% at 10 years.

My take: Don’t get Giardia!! It may cause chronic fatigue and IBS 10 years after acquisition of an infection.  This study reinforces other studies which have shown that numerous enteric pathogens can increase the risk of IBS.  These other studies reported lower rates of IBS following infections, between 7-36%.

Moraine Lake, Banff

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