Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Bill T. Ridgeway


Giardia species occur in many kinds of mammals, and some of these hosts have been postulated as potential reservoirs for human infections. A study was initiated in fall 1990 to determine the distribution and frequency of giardiasis in populations of selected wild animals in 12 counties in Illinois. Fecal samples from 64 white-tailed deer, 13 coyotes, 9 muskrats, 6 raccoons, and 5 badgers were examined for the presence of Giardia spp. and specifically for G. lamblia. Anti-Giardia lamblia cysts polyclonal (PAb) and monoclonal (MAb), FITC-labeled antibody solutions were used for the direct immunofluorescence detection of Giardia cysts in the fecal samples. Fifty-five of the samples (37 white-tailed deer; 9 muskrats; 5 coyotes; 4 raccoons) reacted to the PAb and were thus Giardia positive. One of five positive coyote samples reacted with the G. lamblia specific MAb indicating G. lamblia presence. The MAb result indicates that coyotes can harbor G. lamblia and are possible reservoirs. There was no indication that the other animal species studied harbor G. lamblia.