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April 16, 1982

Yet another way to contract giardiasis?

JAMA. 1982;247(15):2078-2079. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320400008004

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When Stanley H. Schuman, MD, DPH, took a day off to accompany his son to see an orthopedic surgeon for treatment of a football shoulder injury, it became the epidemiologist's equivalent of a busman's holiday.

Schuman, who is professor of epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, became fascinated when the orthopedic surgeon mentioned a harrowing bout of gastroenteritis. The surgeon, a well-built six-footer, had lost 15% of his body weight over approximately a month and had suffered from epigastric pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and anorexia.

A colleague suspected giardiasis, which was confirmed by stool examination, and the surgeon recovered after ten days' treatment with metronidazole. But the question remained: How had he contracted the giardial infection in the first place?

This opportunity to do some medical detective work intrigued Schuman, and the result is what apparently is the first report of