Traveldoctor - International Travel Health

Search
Home Contact us Sitemap Printfriendly page
Diarrhoea
Infection
Infection is almost exclusively through contaminated food and water. Food and water may be contaminated with sewage or may be handled by people with poor hand hygiene. Bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter are found naturally in animals and meat products may be infection during the production process.

Vaccination
Typhoid
  • Typhoid is infection with the most serious Salmonella bacteria.
  • Typhoid is not found in the UK.
  • The vaccination can either be as an injection, which protects up to 3 years, or
  • tablets, which protects up to 5 years if you are exposed to typhoid, but only 1 year if you are not exposed.
  • The injection protects about one week after it has been given, the tablets about two weeks after.
  • Children: The injection can be given down to 2 years of age and the tablets down to 5 years of age.

    Cholera and “tourist diarrhoea” vaccine”
  • The vaccine contains the cholera toxin and killed cholera bacteria.
  • The toxin looks very much like the E.coli toxin responsible for “tourist diarrhoea”.
  • The vaccine protects for up to 2 years against cholera and up to 6 months against "tourist diarrhoea".

    Symptoms
    Loose stools, usually more than 3 times a day often with nausea and sometimes vomiting. Fever at the same time point to a more serious infection with for instance Salmonella, dysentery (Shigella) and Campylobacter.

    Diagnosis
    Culture of bacteria from the stool. Parasites are found by microscopy of a stool sample. Virus can also be detected, but is seldom relevant except in young children in outbreaks in institutions.

    Treatment
    The most important treatment is replacement of the fluid loss by drinking for instance tea with sugar. Ready-made salt-sugar fluid replacement solutions are available from most pharmacists. Bacterial infections can be treated with an antibiotic, for instance a fluoqinolone.
    Amoeba and giardia can be treated with metronidazol.

    Prevention
    See Diarrhoea.

    More about diarrhoea
    Common bacteria which gives diarrhoea: Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, toxin-producing E.coli.
    Virus:
    Rotavirus (small children) and enterovirus.
    Parasites:
    Giardia, Amoeba and Cryptosporidia.

    Further information:W.H.O. – Diarrhoea

    Edited 10 December 2008