Travelers' diarrhea is generally contracted by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Food is the primary source of travelers' diarrhea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli is the cause of up to 70% of all cases of travelers' diarrhea. There are five unique classes of E. coli that causes gastroenteritis. Other bacteria responsible for travelers' diarrhea include Campylobacter, jejuni, shigella, and salmonella. Viruses such as rotavirus and Norwalk virus (norovirus) and giardia lamblia a parasite may cause travelers' diarrhea. Prevention is careful eating and drinking of water.Read more: Travelers' Diarrhea Article
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Related Disease Conditions
Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water. There are a number of causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged vigorous exercise, and some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, lightheadedness, constipation, and bad breath. Treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Travelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary medication if they have a medical condition or chronic disease. Diseases that travelers may pick up from contaminated water or food, insect or animal bites, or from other people include: malaria, meningococcal meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, polio, and cholera.
Typhoid fever is an illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. The illness is contracted by ingesting the bacteria in contaminated water or food. Symptoms include headaches, fever, diarrhea, lethargy, aches and pains, and poor appetite. Treatment focuses on killing the Salmonella bacteria with antibiotics.
Giardiasis (Giardia lamblia) is a parasite responsible for a common form of infectious diarrhea. The parasite lives in two stages: trophozoites and cysts. People at risk for giardiasis are those that live in areas where there is inadequate sanitation or treatment of drinking water. Giardiasis also is a common cause of outbreaks of diarrhea in day-care centers. Symptoms of giardiasis include abdominal pain, stomach cramping, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. Treatment for giardiasis is with antibiotic medication.
Diarrhea is a change is the frequency and looseness of bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are cramping, abdominal pain, and the sensation of rectal urgency. Causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, or parasite infection, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and drugs. Absorbents and anti-motility medications are used to treat diarrhea.
What Causes Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include bloating, gas, colitis, endometriosis, food poisoning, GERD, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, abdominal adhesions, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and cancers. Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include dehydration, bloody or black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pain with no urination or painful urination. Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis) Symptoms, Signs Treatment Remedies, Diet
Stomach flu (gastroenteritis) is a term referred used to describe a variety of gastrointestinal problems. The most common signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States is Norovirus. Other causes of gastroenteritis include Rotavirus, Astrovirus, Adenovirus, and Sapovirus. There are bacterial causes of gastroenteritis such as Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter Aeromonas, E. coli, Clostridium, Vibrio, Campylobacter, and Yersinia spp. Parasites that cause gastroenteritis include Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, and Entamoeba. Treatment for gastroenteritis is generally home remedies such as keeping hydrated to prevent dehydration. At times, hospitalization may be necessary if dehydration occurs.
Food poisoning is common, but can also be life threatening. The symptoms for food poisoning are fever, abdominal pain, headache, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Food poisoning has many causes, for example, chemicals (from toxic fish or plants) and bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus or Salmonella). Treatment of food poisoning depends upon the cause.
E. coli (0157:H7) Infection
There are many types of E. coli (Escherichia coli). E. coli can cause urinary tract and bladder infections, or lead to sepsis. E coli O157:H7 (EHEC) causes bloody diarrhea and colitis. Complications of E. coli infection include hemorrhagic diarrhea, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. E coli O157:H7 commonly is due to eating raw or undercooked hamburger or raw milk or dairy products.
Trichinosis Worm Infection
Trichinosis is a food-borne disease caused by ingesting parasites (roundworms) in undercooked pork or wild-game meat. Symptoms of trichinosis include diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, itching, fever, chills, and joint pains.Trichinosis usually resolves without treatment, but more severe cases are treated with thiabendazole (Mintezol), albendazole (Abenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).
Cholera is an infectious disease characterized by intense vomiting and profuse watery diarrhea and that rapidly lease to dehydration and often death. Cholera is caused by infection with the bacteria Vibrio cholerae, which may be transmitted via infected fecal matter, food, or water.
First aid is a complicated subject and it is situation-specific. First aid is defined as the help and medical assistance someone a sick or injured person. Preparedness is key to first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your home, car, boat, or RV. Many minor injuries may require first aid, including cuts, puncture wounds, sprains, strains, and nosebleeds. Examples of more critical first aid emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and heat stroke
Antibiotic Resistance (Drug Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance)
Antibiotics are medications used to kill or slow the growth of bacteria and some fungi. The definition of antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to change (mutate) and grow in the presence of a drug (an antibiotic) that would normally slow its growth or kill it. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi become harder to treat. Antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to longer hospital stays, higher treatment costs, and more deaths.
The Digestion Process (Parts, Organs, and Functions)
Digestion is the complex process of turning the food you eat into the energy you need to survive. The digestive process also involves creating waste to be eliminated, and is made of a series of muscles that coordinate the movement of food. Learn more about digestion and the body parts that make it possible, including the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, anus, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Stool Color, Changes in Color, Texture, and Form
Stool color changes can very from green, red, maroon, yellow, white, or black. Causes of changes of stool color can range from foods a person eats, medication, diseases or conditions, pregnancy, cancer, or tumors. Stool can also have texture changes such as greasy or floating stools. Stool that has a uncharacteristically foul odor may be caused by infections such as giardiasis or medical conditions.
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
Viral hemorrhagic fever(s), or VHFs are a group of illnesses caused by distinct families of viruses. Many of these viruses are life-threatening, and classified as biosafety level four (BSL-4) pathogens. Viral hemorrhagic fever viruses are caused arenaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, and flaviviruses. The viruses are carried in rodents and transmitted through urine, fecal, saliva, or other body excretions from the infected rodents. Symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever include marked fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, loss of strength, fever, and exhaustion. Severely ill patients may also suffer shock coma, seizures, delirium, kidney failure, or nervous system malfunction. There is no established cure for viral hemorrhagic fever.
Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Symptoms of the inflammation of the colon lining include diarrhea, pain, and blood in the stool. There are several causes of colitis, including infection, ischemia of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, infectious colitis like C. difficile, or microscopic colitis). Treatment depends on the cause of the colitis.
Shigellosis is a disease caused by the Shigella bacteria. Bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever are common symptoms. Mild infections usually resolve on their own. Antibiotics are used to treat more severe cases.
Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A)
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A) is one type of liver disease caused by a virus. Since hepatitis A is a virus, it can pass from person to person from eating or drinking contaminated food or coming into contact with contaminated materials containing the virus. Symptoms of hepatitis A include stomach pain, diarrhea, dark yellow urine, jaundice, and more. There is a vaccine to prevent contracting hepatitis A.
Enterovirulent E. coli (EEC)
Enterovirulent Escherichia coli (E. coli) are strains of related bacteria that have a strong propensity to cause gastrointestinal tract infections. Examples of strains include: EHEC (enterohemorrhagic E. coli), ETEC (enterotoxigenic E. coli), EPEC (enteropathogenic E. coli), EIEC (enteroinvasive E. coli), EAEC (enteroadherent E. coli), and EAggEC (enteroaggregative E. coli). Symptoms may vary depending on the strain the individual contracts. Infection is spread generally through contaminated food or drink.
Cyclospora Infection (Cyclosporiasis)
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite that causes infection when humans ingest food contaminated with feces from an infected individual. Symptoms include profuse diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, cramping, and fatigue. A seven-day course of Bactrim or Septra is the standard treatment for cyclosporiasis.
Is Cholera Contagious?
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. It's typically transmitted via infected fecal matter. Cholera causes frequent bouts of vomiting and watery diarrhea.
Is E. coli Contagious? (Symptoms and Cure)
E. coli is an infection found worldwide. There are several subtypes of the E. coli species. E. coli spreads from person to person via contaminated food or water. Symptoms and signs of E. coli infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and sometimes fever. Antibiotics treat E. coli infection.
Stomach Flu vs. Food Poisoning
The stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) and food poisoning are not the same infections. However, they do have a few similar symptoms, for example: Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Fever Abdominal (stomach) pain and cramping. Symptoms and signs of food poisoning show up earlier (2 hours up to a couple of days) in comparison to the stomach flu in which symptoms may take 4 hours up to 48 hours (2 days) before symptoms begin. Medical treatment for the stomach flu and food poisoning generally is not necessary. A bland diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and rest may be the only treatment necessary.
Common Medical Abbreviations List
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include: ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease. ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure cap: Capsule. CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea. DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis. DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes HA: Headache IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis JT: Joint N/V: Nausea or vomiting. p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os. q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily. RA: Rheumatoid arthritis SOB: Shortness of breath. T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
How Do You Get Rid of Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is characterized as loose or runny stools that happen an abnormally high number of times throughout the day. Diarrhea can be linked to autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s or irritable bowel syndrome but is more often a sign of food intolerance (lactose is common), viral infection, food poisoning or other infectious diseases of varying severity.
Local ResourcesFind a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- 9 Tips to Prevent Travelers' Diarrhea
- E. Coli in New Orleans Flood Waters
- Travel Medicine Kit
- What Is a Hospitalist?
- Do You Need Vaccinations Before Traveling Abroad?
- Doctors Answer Digestion Questions
- 6 Tips if You Need Healthcare When Traveling
- A Doctor's View on Gastroenteritis Diagnosis
- When to Call the Doctor for Fever, Nausea, Diarrhea, Colds, and Coughs
- Abdominal Pain: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Antibiotics 101
- Ask the Experts - Gastroentrology (Digestion)
Medications & Supplements
- Cipro, Cipro XR (ciprofloxacin) Antibiotic Side Effects
- sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim)
- doxycycline (Vibramycin, Doryx)
- loperamide (Imodium)
- diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil)
- Levaquin (levofloxacin) Antibiotic
- attapulgite (Kaopectate)
- sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium lactate and calcium (Lactated Ringer's Solution)
- atropine (Atreza)
- bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate)
- furazolidone (oral), Furoxone
- rifaximin (Xifaxan)
- Cipro, XR (ciprofloxacin) vs. Keflex (cephalexin)
- Levaquin vs. Zosyn
- Nitrofurantoin vs. Ciprofloxacin
- Side Effects of Xifaxan (rifaximin)
- Side Effects of Alinia (nitazoxanide)
Prevention & Wellness
- Should You Cancel Travel Plans Due to Coronavirus? Take This Quiz
- Health Tip: Planning a Stress-Reducing Vacation
- AHA News: Need a Break? A Vacation Really Can Be Good for You If It's Done Right
- Health Tip: Prevent Travelers' Diarrhea
- Severity of E. Coli-Linked Diarrhea May Depend on Blood Type
- Timely Tips for Sick-Free Travel
- Responding to Opioid Crisis, FDA Puts More Restrictions on Imodium
- Health Tip: Avoid a Sure Way to Ruin Your Vacation
- Health Tip: Are You Well Enough to Travel?
- Health Tip: Reduce the Risk of Traveler's Diarrhea
- Airport Screenings Miss Roughly Half of Sick Travelers: Study
- Antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea May Spur Growth of Superbugs: Study
- Progress Made on Vaccine for So-Called ‘Cruise Ship' Virus
- Gulf Oil Spill's Toll on Nation's Beaches
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