Giardia duodenalis, also known as Giardia intestinalis and Giardia lamblia, is a flagellated parasitic microorganism, that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine, causing a diarrheal condition known as giardiasis. The parasite attaches to the epithelium by a ventral adhesive disc or sucker, and reproduces via binary fission. Giardiasis does not spread via the bloodstream, nor does it spread to other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, but remains confined to the lumen of the small intestine. Giardia has an outer membrane that makes it possible to retain life, even when outside of the host body, and which can make it tolerant to chlorine disinfection. Giardia trophozoites absorb their nutrients from the lumen, and are anaerobes. If the organism is split and stained, its characteristic pattern resembles the familiar "smiley face" symbol.
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