Long-term complications following the Giardia outbreak in Bergen in 2004
What we do
In the autumn of 2004 there was an outbreak of Giardia lamblia, contaminating one of the main drinking water reservoirs of the city of Bergen, Norway. This tragic event has been thoroughly researched through the years. A follow-up three years after the outbreak found that patients who had been sick with Giardia infection in 2004 where more likely to meet the criteria for irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue than uninfected persons.
This is Sverre Litleskare’s Ph.D.-project. Through three sub-studies the project will investigate the following issues:
Is there an association between being infected with Giardia in 2004 and perceived food intolerance three years later?
We did a retrospective cohort study in 2007. Questionnaires were mailed to 1252 Giardia-infected patients and 2504 persons not infected (the control group). We asked participants whether they had any perceived abdominal complaints related to food intake, and which kinds of food. We found that the Giardia infected reported more perceived food intolerance than the controls. One article has been published.
Is there an association between Giardia infection in 2004 and irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue ten years later?
This was a controlled prospective cohort study were the 1252 Giardia patients and 2504 controls received questionnaires three, six and ten years after the outbreak. Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue was assessed at all three follow-ups. The Giardia infected had a higher prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue ten years after the outbreak than healthy controls. There was no change in the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome from six to ten years, whereas the prevalence of chronic fatigue fell. One article has been published.
Is there a difference in quality of life between Giardia infected and the control group ten years after the outbreak?
The ten-year follow-up questionnaire also assessed quality of life. This is a controlled prospective study, and work on this article is currently ongoing.
The project team consists of Sverre Litleskare (Ph.D. student), Guri Rørtveit (main supervisor) and Knut-Arne Wensaas (co-supervisor). Other members of the team are professor Nina Langeland and post.doc. Kurt Hanevik (Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen), and professor Geir Egil Eide (Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen).