Chesterfield woman suffered from stomach parasite

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CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI)-- A Chesterfield woman says she feels the pain of anyone suffering from a recent outbreak of an intestinal infection that`s sickened hundreds across the Midwest.

Tracey Chambers was diagnosed with Girardia after weeks of pain and confusion.  Girardia is a parasite that can cause severe diarrhea.  Contaminated food or water is often the source of the painful condition.

Hundreds have been diagnosed with Cyclospora in recent months.  Cyclospora is a parasite that can be contracted by digesting contaminated food or water.  It can cause similar symptoms.

"I was literally from the couch to the restroom 24 hours a day," said Chambers.  She said during one 12-hour period, she made 32 visits to the bathroom.  "My body was just shutting down."

Chambers said her pain went on for weeks without doctors knowing what was wrong.  She was even hospitalized after losing 22 pounds in 13 days.

"Within 2 days of being in the hospital I gained 6 pounds back," she said.  "That`s how much fluid my body lost."

Chambers said it wasn`t until she went to St. Luke`s Hospital, that doctors found the source of her problems..  They analyzed a stool sample and determined that Chambers had Girardia. She was treated and recovered.

"I have no idea how I got it or where it came from," said Chambers.  She hopes others with similar symptoms will have an easier time finding the proper diagnosis.