Thursday, April 15, 2010

Furry friends can pass on less-than-friendly parasite

By Leah Poulton, Communications & Marketing Office

First-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Dawn Cardinal wants you to wash your hands. Especially after you play with Fido.

As part of her project for Student Research Days, Cardinal discovered that Giardia, a fatal parasite, is being passed from canines to humans.

“People are petting their dogs, not washing their hands and then touching their faces,” she says.

Giardia is the third most-common cause of parasitic death in the world. It’s most often found in contaminated water in wells or ponds. Cardinal examined Giardia in both its local and world-wide environments, and discovered that human-canine contact was most often to blame in cases of infection.

She points out that luckily, it's almost always treatable. But the best way to prevent getting infected in the first place is to wash your hands.

Cardinal hopes that her project will help raise public awareness about Giardia.

Student Research Days is an annual event that showcases the research of Douglas College students. This year's event, held on March 30-31, 2010, featured nearly 200 students from across all College Faculties presenting over 100 research project posters on a diverse range of topics. The event continues to raise the profile and enthusiasm for student research at the College.

Next year's student research days will be held on March 28, 2011 at David Lam Campus and March 29, 2011 at New Westminster Campus. Look for registration forms and a call for exhibitors in the Fall, check the Student Research Days page for more information.

With photos and contributions from Trista Orchard.