Impact of Early Life Giardiasis on Growth, Nutritional Status, and Serum Trace Elements in Children

Document Type : Original Article


1 Pediatric, Department, Faculty of medicine for Girls, Al-Azhar University, Egypt.

2 department of pediatric, research institute of ophthalmology, Giza, Egypt

3 Pediatric, National Nutrition Institute, Egypt

4 Clinical Pathology, National Nutrition Institute, Egypt


Giardia lamblia is considered the most common intestinal parasite in humans worldwide.Giardiasis is a major health problem with a great morbid effect on children’s physical and cognitive development. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of giardiasis on children’s growth, assess the serum levels of zinc, copper, and iron, also to study the relation between giardia infections and breastfeeding.Methods: this was a cross-sectional study carried out on 200 children (1-3 years). They were recruited from the outpatient clinics of Al-Zahraa university hospital and National Nutrition Institute. 100 children were infected with giardiasis and 100 were healthy All the studied children were subjected to full history taking, complete clinical examination, anthropometric measures, complete blood count, stool analysis, and estimation of serum level of zinc, copper, and iron.Results: this study revealed an increase in giardiasis in patients with low socioeconomic levels. The prevalence of malnutrition among infected patients as regards Waterlaw’s classification was 55% wasted, 42% stunted, and 42% were wasted & stunted. Anemia is more frequent in patients with giardiasis. There is a significant decrease in the level of serum zinc in infected children which was associated with high rates of diarrhea. Also, there was a significant decrease in serum iron. A statistically significant relation was found between children who received breast milk and protection against giardiasis.  Conclusion: Giardiasis is regarded as a serious public health problem, as it causes iron-deficiency anemia, growth retardation in children, and other physical health problems.