Why is travel history important in suspected diarrhea?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Stefano Guandalini, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Travel history may indicate a cause for diarrhea.

  • Enterotoxigenic E coli is the leading cause of traveler's diarrhea.

  • Rotavirus and Shigella, Salmonella, and Campylobacter organisms are prevalent worldwide and need to be considered regardless of specific travel history.

  • Risk of contracting diarrhea while traveling is, by far, highest for persons traveling to Africa.

  • Travel to Central and South America and Eastern European countries is also associated with a relatively high risk of contracting diarrhea.

  • Other organisms that are prevalent in particular parts of the world include the following:

    • Nonspecific foreign travel history - Enterotoxigenic E coli and Aeromonas, Giardia, Plesiomonas, Salmonella, and Shigella species

    • Underdeveloped tropical visit -C perfringens

    • Travel to Africa -Entamoeba species, Vibrio cholerae

    • Travel to South America and Central America -Entamoeba species, V cholerae, enterotoxigenic E coli

    • Travel to Asia -V cholerae

    • Travel to Australia -Yersinia species

    • Travel to Canada -Yersinia species

    • Travel to Europe -Yersinia species

    • Travel to India -Entamoeba species, V cholerae

    • Travel to Japan -Vibrio parahaemolyticus

    • Travel to Mexico -Aeromonas, Entamoeba, Plesiomonas, and Yersinia species

    • New Guinea -Clostridium species

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