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Traveler's Diarrhea (cont.)

Traveler's Diarrhea Causes

A person can become infected by eating or drinking food or water that has come in contact with feces. Food and water become contaminated when they are handled by people with fecal content on their hands - not in direct contact with feces. Restaurants are common sites for exposure to this type of food poisoning. Food from street vendors is even more risky. Eating in a private home is the safest food source.

High-risk food and drink

Certain items are considered high risk for transmission and include the following:

  • Raw or undercooked meats
  • Raw leafy vegetables
  • Seafood
  • Unpeeled fruits
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • Tap water (A common mistake travelers make is to avoid tap water but to place ice cubes in a beverage. Contaminated ice is still able to transmit disease. Do not use ice cubes.)

Safe products to eat and drink

  • Bottled carbonated beverages
  • Hot coffee or tea
  • Water boiled or treated appropriately with chlorine

Specific bacterial causes of traveler's diarrhea

Up to 85% of traveler's diarrhea is caused by bacteria. The remaining cases are caused by viruses and protozoa. The most common organism causing traveler's diarrhea is Escherichia coli accounting for up to 72% of cases in some regions.

Other bacterial causes of traveler's diarrhea

  • Subtypes of E coli
  • Shigella s species
  • Salmonella species
  • Campylobacter juni
  • Vibrio species

Protozoa causing traveler's diarrhea

Viral causes of traveler's diarrhea

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Escherichia Coli Infections »

Escherichia coli is one of the most frequent causes of many common bacterial infections, including cholecystitis, bacteremia, cholangitis, urinary tract infection (UTI), and traveler's diarrhea, and other clinical infections such as neonatal meningitis and pneumonia.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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