Travellers’ Diarrhoea(TD)

Travellers’ Diarrhoea (TD) can strike when you least expect it

Travellers’ Diarrhoea may be caused by a variety of infectious agents.  The most common cause is enterotoxigenic  Escherichia coli (ETEC) – an intestinal infection able to produce enterotoxins.

Travellers become infected with ETEC through ingestion of contaminated food and water.  In theory persons who are careful with their food and water intake should be able to avoid the illness, however in practice TD remains common even in persons who are careful.

HIGH RISK AREAS

Travel destination is the most significant risk factor for Travellers’ Diarrhoea.  High risk areas for TD include, Central and South America, The Middle East and most of Asia.

PERSONS WITH INCREASED SUSCEPTIBILITY TO TD

                Immunocompromised Travellers’

                Persons with lowered gastric acidity (i.e. patients taking H2-Blockers, or Proton pump inhibitors)

                Younger age and adventurous travel also increase the risk of acquiring Travellers’ Diarrhoea.

          Person staying at luxury resorts or on cruise ships are also at risk of acquiring TD

TRAVELLERS’ DIARRHOEA IS CHARACTERIZED BY WATERY STOOLS WHIC MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH:

               Abdominal pain

         Cramps

·                        Nausea

         Vomiting

·                        Muscle Aches

         Weakness

·                        Sometimes a low grade fever

 PREVENTING TRAVELLERS’ DIARRHOEA

Travellers are advised to avoid unsafe food and drinks.  Food from street vendors is particularly risky and should be avoided.

Unsafe foods and beverages include salads, unpeeled fruits, raw or poorly cooked meats and seafood.  Unpasteurized dairy products and tap water (or iced made from unsafe water)

Although travellers are often advised to “boil it, cook it peel it or forget it”, many travellers find it difficult to adhere to dietary recommendations.

Ask your travel medicine practitioner about various options available to you which could reduce the risk of TD.  Your practitioner will assist you with a thorough risk assessment depending on your health status and travel destination.

 

SOME SURPRISES ARE BEST AVOIDED.  HELP PREVENT THE SURPRISE.