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Study shows giardia present in central
and southern Illinois waterways    
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[JULY 14, 2003]  A recent study funded by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program determined the presence of Giardia intestinalis in beavers in five watersheds in central and southern Illinois. Giardia cysts can be transmitted to humans who ingest contaminated water, causing severe intestinal disorders that are sometimes called "beaver fever" by hikers and other recreationists.

According to an article published in the Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science ("Prevalence of Giardia intestinalis in Illinois Beavers." McNew, L.B., Jr., T.A. Nelson, and S.T. McTaggart. 2003. TISAS 96:113-118), Giardia cysts were detected in 30.8 percent of 107 beavers tested. This exceeded infection rates reported by past studies in the United States and Canada.

The authors concluded, "Whether beavers serve as initial sources of surface water contamination or as amplifying hosts, this intestinal parasite is likely to become more prevalent in Illinois' waterways as beaver populations increase statewide."

Illinois' annual beaver trapping season, the primary means of managing the beaver population in the state, is Nov. 5, 2003, to March 31, 2004, in the north zone and Nov. 10, 2003, to March 31, 2004, in the south zone.

For more information on trapping regulations, contact the IDNR's wildlife program development office, at (217) 782-6384.

[From an Illinois Department of Natural Resources
press release]

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