“History is not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveller.”
It is said that one cannot exactly cure a disease unless its history (in part or full) is known. Apart from the popular Jerusalem syndrome that tourists who visit Jerusalem come back with, there is a high possibility of tourists returning with dysentery if care is not taken. Why? You may wonder. This is because
Giardia was probably endemic to the Jerusalem region many years ago.
Giarda:This is the parasite that causes dysentery—a miserable mixture of diarrhea, fever and cramps sometimes.
Many people mistake dysentery with diarrhea but there is a striking difference. Diarrhea is a common sickness when a person suffers from watery or loose stool while dysentery is a parasitic infection which could lead to the inflammation of the intestines, bringing about the presence of blood ones watery stool. The similarity here is the fact that in both cases of diarrhea and dysentery, watery stool is involved and they could both be contacted the same way; through contaminated food, water or sharing items with an infected person.
Scientists have discovered traces of Giardia Duodenalis in the remains of toilets that are approximately 2600 years old which were once used by the denizens(natives ) of Jerusalem. During their regular research spree, scientist came across toilets that were classified as ‘posh’ 2600 years ago and as you would imagine, the posh toilets were used by the ‘wealthy or rich’ people who lived in mansion-like houses and what not.
Samples of the soil taken from beneath these toilet seats showed traces of roundworm and other intestinal parasite but on further and in-depth analysis, giardia was found in the sample.
Giardiasis (or giardia foe short) can be found in the human gut today but it wasn’t always that way. Just like humans evolve, parasites also evolve and in turn acclamatize to new habitat; in this case, the human gut. Unlike some intestinal parasites that can be preserved in the ground for centuries, giardia and its kin quickly disintegrate, making it impossible for it to be spotted under a regular microscope if one doesn’t look closely.
The thing with parasitic infections or diseases is that they can live for ages in the soil and even water and as such, it’s wise to always double check the sources where we get our water from. At the same time, one should be careful of the type of people one shares a meal with. Personal hygiene goes a long way in preventing the disease.
The good news is that giardia can be treated with drugs that help to kill parasites. But who would want to go through the stress of taking medication when you can just prevent the mishap in the first place?
With love, wongi✨