Prevalence of fibromyalgia 10 years after infection with Giardia lamblia: A controlled prospective cohort study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Pain. 2021, 1-8. 10.1515/sjpain-2021-0122
Objectives To investigate whether acute infection with Giardia lamblia is associated with fibromyalgia 10 years after infection and whether fibromyalgia is associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic fatigue (CF) in this setting. Methods A cohort study was established after an outbreak of G. lamblia in Bergen, Norway, 2004. Laboratory-confirmed cases and a matched control group were followed for 10 years. The main outcome was fibromyalgia 10 years after giardiasis, defined by the 2016 revisions of the fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria using the Fibromyalgia Survey Questionnaire (FSQ). Results The prevalence of fibromyalgia was 8.6% (49/572) among Giardia exposed compared to 3.1% (21/673) in controls (p<0.001). Unadjusted odds for having fibromyalgia was higher for Giardia exposed compared to controls (odds ratio (OR): 2.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.72, 4.91), but adjusted for IBS and CF it was not (OR: 1.05, 95% CI: 0.57, 1.95). Among participants without CF the odds for fibromyalgia was 6.27 times higher for participants with IBS than those without (95% CI: 3.31, 11.91) regardless of exposure. Among participants without IBS the odds for fibromyalgia was 4.80 times higher for those with CF than those without (95% CI: 2.75, 8.37). Conclusions We found a higher prevalence of fibromyalgia among Giardia exposed compared to controls 10 years after the acute infection. Fibromyalgia was strongly associated with IBS and CF, and the difference between the exposed and controls can be attributed to the high prevalence of IBS and CF among the Giardia exposed. Notably, this study was not designed to establish causality between Giardia exposure and the outcomes.