Vol 70, No 4 (2019)
Review article
Published online: 2019-12-24

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Gastrointestinal infections in returned travelers

Agnieszka Fedor1, Ignacy Bojanowski1, Krzysztof Korzeniewski23
Pubmed: 31891179
IMH 2019;70(4):244-251.


Gastrointestinal infections are one of the most frequent medical conditions diagnosed in patients who travel to tropical or subtropical destinations. The most common disorder occurring in up to 60% travelling people is travelers’ diarrhea (TD). The illness is defined as a minimum of three loose stools within 24 hours; in most cases TD is caused by the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Its symptoms usually persist for 4–5 days and resolve spontaneously or on self-administered empirical antimicrobial therapy, but in case of an invasive infection, it is necessary to seek medical care. As most tourists travel for 1–2 weeks, the disease often persists or develops upon return; therefore, it is important to raise awareness of TD’s clinical features and treatment options among physicians from travelers’ home countries unaccustomed to this health problem. Another issue, which is gaining more and more importance in recent years, is post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome, a chronic disturbance affecting up to 17% of patients, who have had travelers’ diarrhea. This review aims to promote prophylaxis of gastrointestinal disorders and to extend knowledge about their after-effects in returned travelers.

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