Lack of an adverse effect of Giardia intestinalis infection on the health of Peruvian children

Maria Graciela Hollm-Delgado, Robert H. Gilman, Caryn Bern, Lilia Cabrera, Charles R. Sterling, Robert E. Black, William Checkley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    49 Scopus citations


    Giardia intestinalis is a common gastrointestinal protozoan worldwide, but its effects on childhood growth in developing countries are not clearly understood. The authors aimed to describe its effects on child growth. They followed 220 Peruvian children daily for diarrhea, weekly for stool samples, and monthly for anthropometry. The authors modeled the effect of nutritional status on the risk of Giardia infection and the risk of diarrhea attributable to Giardia using negative binomial regression. They modeled the effects of Giardia infection on growth using linear regression, with 85% of children becoming infected with Giardia and 87% of these becoming reinfected. In multivariable analysis, the risk of Giardia infection did not vary with weight for age (relative risk = 1.00, 95% confidence interval: 0.89, 1.12) or height for age (relative risk = 0.92, 95% confidence interval: 0.82, 1.04). Giardiasis did not affect growth at 1 or 2 months following the first infection at any age interval. The longitudinal prevalence of Giardia between 6 and 24 months of age was not associated with height gain in that interval (p = 0.981). Giardia was not associated with an increased risk of diarrhea at any age interval. Study results question the importance of Giardia as a childhood pathogen in developing countries where giardiasis is hyperendemic.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)647-655
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Sep 2008


    • Developing countries
    • Diarrhea
    • Giardia lamblia
    • Growth
    • Natural history
    • Peru

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology


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