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Lester Gutiérrez and Luther Bartelt, MD

A report published by Lester Gutiérrez, a PhD candidate and IGHID Fellow, provides a new assessment of Giardia lamblia and the pathogenesis of stunting and cognitive growth in children from low- and middle-income countries, published with mentor Luther Bartelt, MD.

Giardia is most common during childhood, mainly in low-and-middle income countries. Symptoms can include acute or chronic diarrhea, dehydration or abdominal pain, and the majority of infections are asymptomatic. Chronic infections, left undetected, can result in weight loss and stunted growth.

“We know that when a child is infected, there are changes in intestinal functions that could be associated with weight loss and stunted growth,” Gutiérrez said. “We also believe that repeated Giardia infections in young children could have a significant impact on their future growth and development.”

Multifactorial effects could be associated with Giardia, including nutritional, altered microbiota, and generation of potentially toxic microbial metabolic byproducts, all together increasing risk of long-term outcomes.

Read the abstract in Current Tropical Medicine Reports.