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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Yankee Giambi's Parasite Watch

Poor Jason Giambi, the New York Yankee first baseman, was diagnosed with an intestinal parasite back on June 29th. Now it seems the parasite has decided to say around for the second half of the season.

One published report said Giambi was being tested for a "potentially fatal" parasite, entamoeba histolytica.

"If he does have entamoeba histolytica, I would say that's overblown," said Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Medical Center. "... Only around 4-8 percent of cases (are fatal) and (Giambi) could have another condition entirely."

Raj Kapila, infectious disease expert at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey was asked: How serious is an entamoeba histolytica? He said:

For a healthy person, intestinal parasites are generally treatable, but the entamoeba histolytica is difficult to detect.

A person with a weakened immune system can become very ill. "It is a disease that can be totally killed, but if it invades inside the tissue, it can be very dangerous." Once it infects the intestine, it has the potential to travel to the colon, liver or brain, if the parasite goes untreated.

The New York Times reported that Entamoeba histolytica affects about 50 million people a year, and causes thousands of deaths.

Yankees Q&A: Dangerous parasite is hard to find but treatable [NJ Star Ledger]
Giambi awaits word on troublesome parasite [dailynews.com]
For Giambi, Answers and Energy Are Limited [NY Times]

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