Alternate Names : E. Coli Diarrhea
Traveler's diarrhea refers to diarrheal disease caused by toxins
produced by a number of different strains of Escherichia coli
and other bacteria.
What is going on in the body?
Traveler's diarrhea begins when a person swallows E.
coli or other bacteria. This happens through close contact with feces
from an infected person or animal. It can also come from ingesting food or
water that has been contaminated with the bacteria. There have been numerous
outbreaks of E. coli illness linked to unpasteurized
contaminated cow's milk or undercooked hamburger meat. The disease can also
pass from person to person, especially between children still in
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
Traveler's diarrhea is caused by certain bacteria, such as
E. coli. Travelers generally come into contact with these bacteria by
ingesting contaminated food or water. Travelers to the following countries are
at particular risk:
Central America, including the islands of the West Indies
the developing countries of Africa
the Middle East
Any raw food can be a source of these bacteria. However, the
following foods and beverages pose the highest risk:
certain fish, particularly tropical fish
uncooked vegetables and fruit
unpasteurized fruit juice
unpasteurized milk and milk products
Traveler's diarrhea is more common in younger people but
can occur at any age. People with
immunodeficiency disorders, such as HIV, are at higher risk.