Each year millions of international travelers experience traveler's diarrhea. High-risk destinations for traveler's diarrhea include many areas of Central and South America, Mexico, Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia.
Traveling to Eastern Europe and a few Caribbean islands also poses some risk. However, your risk of traveler's diarrhea is generally low in Northern and Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Your chances of getting traveler's diarrhea are mostly determined by your destination. But certain groups of people have a greater risk of developing the condition. These include:
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- Young adults. The condition is slightly more common in young adult tourists. Though the reasons why aren't clear, it's possible that young adults lack acquired immunity, they may be more adventurous in their travels and dietary choices, or they may be less vigilant in avoiding contaminated foods.
- People with weakened immune systems. A weakened immune system increases vulnerability to infections.
- People with diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease. These conditions can leave you more prone to infection.
- People who take acid blockers or antacids. Acid in the stomach tends to destroy organisms, so a reduction in stomach acid may leave more opportunity for bacterial survival.
- People who travel during certain seasons. The risk of traveler's diarrhea varies by season in certain parts of the world. For example, risk is highest in South Asia during the hot months just before the monsoon.
- Wanke CA. Travelers' diarrhea. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2013.
- Travelers' diarrhea: Self-treatable conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/travelers-diarrhea.htm. Accessed April 3, 2013.
- Travelers' diarrhea. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/travelersdiarrhea_g.htm. Accessed April 3, 2013.
- Auerbach PS. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00062-3&isbn=978-1-4377-1678-8&sid=1411680414&uniqId=403732597-9#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00062-3--s0040. Accessed April 3, 2013.
- Kollaritsch H, et al. Traveler's diarrhea. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 2012;26:691.
- Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#treated. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Water disinfection for travelers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/water-disinfection-for-travelers.htm. Accessed April 3, 2013.
- Food and water precautions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/food-and-water-precautions.htm. Accessed April 3, 2013.
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