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Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture

Last updated May 9, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture test is used to detect the characteristic molecules made by G. lamblia and not the host. Thus, it is used to identify infection by G. lamblia.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Giardia Antigen Culture Test
  • Giardia Lamblia Ag Culture
  • Giardia Lamblia Antigen Stool Culture Test

What is Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture Test? (Background Information)

  • Giardia lamblia, or G. lamblia, is a type of microorganism called a protist. It causes the intestinal infection giardiasis
  • G. lamblia is transmitted by drinking water contaminated with feces containing the pathogen. Rarely, it is also transmitted through food and sexual intercourse
  • An individual ingests G. lamblia by ingesting its eggs or cysts. The cysts are able to weather the external environment, because they are surrounded by a thick shell. After being ingested, the cysts attach to the intestinal wall and hatch
  • The hatched Giardia lamblia possesses a flagellum, or tail-like apparatus, which helps it move through its environment. G. lamblia are able to damage and destroy intestinal cells. This causes intestinal signs and symptoms such as explosive diarrhea and cramping
  • The Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture test is used to detect the characteristic molecules made by G. lamblia and not the host. Thus, it is used to identify infection by G. lamblia

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture:

  • Diarrhea that is explosive, foul-smelling, and watery
  • Cramps
  • Flatulence
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

How is the Specimen Collected for Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture:

Sample required: Stool

Process: Defecation into a sterile container.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture Test Result?

  • A positive Giardia Lamblia Stool Culture test may indicate infection by G. lamblia

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Giardia lamblia infection does not always cause symptoms. This enables some individuals to act as carriers
  • Giardia is found in 97% of the lakes, ponds, and streams in the United States. Its cysts are resistant to chlorine found in water filtration systems

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 7, 2015
Last updated: May 9, 2019