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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Travellers' diarrhoea

Travellers' diarrhoea

Image: E. coli from, ID: 72915928

Travellers' diarrhoea is usually defined as: the passage of three or more unformed stools within a 24 hour period and is usually a self-limiting illness caused by infection with bacterial, viral or protozoan organisms. It is acquired by the consumption of contaminated food or water.

Travellers' diarrhoea (TD) is more frequent in people travelling from a high-income country to a low-income country with the highest risk destinations in the Indian subcontinent, North Africa and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Although symptoms are generally mild, in some cases, TD can cause serious illness or be extremely unpleasant and disruptive to a holiday or business trip. It can also have an important economic impact on international tourism.

There is no vaccine to prevent TD; prevention relies on good personal and food and water hygiene. For more information please see general information on TD and the National Travel Health Network and Centre information sheet on TD [external link].