Travellers' Diarrhea (TD), also known as Turistas and Montezuma’s Revenge, is the most common health problem affecting those who travel to locations where sanitation and water treatment standards and practices are less developed. It is said that 30% or more of voyagers will come down with it during or after their trip. Anyone can contract it, but the elderly, young adults, and persons whose health makes them more generally susceptible to all infections may be more at risk1. The primary source of infection is ingestion of contaminated food or water. Known infection risks include: food or drink obtained from a casual vendor or from an unclean facility; eating meat or seafood that is undercooked or raw; eating raw fruit or vegetables peeled by others; tap water; ice; and drinking unpasteurized dairy products2. Infectious agents are the leading cause of TD and the most common among them is the E.coli bacteria. Onset is usually within the first week of travel but can occur at any time, even after return, as the symptoms may take four or five days to appear. Most cases of Travellers' Diarrhea begin abruptly and are diagnosed after one has had three loose stools in a 24-hour period. An episode will usually last 3 -5 days, but in rare cases can last two weeks or more and present serious complications. Other symptoms may include abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea, bloating, a general feeling of discomfort, and fever. TD can seriously interfere with your travel plans2.
- 1. McFarland L. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2007 5:97-105.
- 2. Yates J. Traveller’s Diarrhea. Am Fam Phys. 2005. 71:2095-2100