Traveler’s Diarrhea

Definition

Traveler's diarrhea is diarrhea in people who travel to international destinations. It often happens in less developed countries.

Causes

The primary cause of traveler’s diarrhea is ingesting contaminated food or water. The substance carries bacteria, a virus, or a parasite that causes the diarrhea. Examples of agents that can cause the diarrhea include:
  • Bacteria (most common cause)
  • Viruses
    • Rotavirus
    • Norwalk virus
  • Parasites
Virus Attacking Cell
Virus
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The pathogen that causes the infection will partly depend on the area of travel.

Risk Factors

The most important risk factor for getting traveler’s diarrhea is the destination. Underdeveloped countries with unsafe water supplies pose the highest risk. The following factors increase your chance of getting traveler’s diarrhea. If you have any of these risk factors and plan to travel internationally, tell your doctor:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Crohn's Disease
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Symptoms

Symptoms can include:
  • Increased frequency and volume of stool
  • Frequent loose stools—4 to 5 watery bowel movements a day
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Bloating

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