Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Cause Traveller?s Diarrhoea?

Just so you think your most-awaited, important-than-nothing-else travel abroad is perfect, you then experience along your vacation some sort of inconvenience—abdominal bloating and cramps, urgency to go to the toilet, frequent loose or unformed bowel movements (stools), nausea, vomiting, and mild fever—in an instant you became a victim of Traveller’s Diarrhoea. This condition or illness is regarded the most common nemesis of every backpackers from developed countries—a whopping 50% of traveller’s have their rips ruined—spending 2 to 3 weeks to developing parts of the globe.

Traveller’s Diarrhoea is generally acquired by consumption or ingestion of faecally contaminated food or water, or both. These food or drinks contaminated with microorganisms that spread to the body when ingested. These microorganisms that can cause diarrhoea or traveller’s diarrhoea range from bacteria, viruses, parasites and even some unidentified causes.

As for bacteria-causing diarrhoea (80-85% of cases), the Enterotoxigenic (ETEC) forming Escherichia coli (E. coli) is one of the most common reasons of this illness; studies shown that approximately 40-75% of all cases are blamed to this, and they can be found in undercooked beef and unpasteurized milk. Meanwhile, other bacterial causes of traveller’s diarrhoea are Campylobacter jejuni, found in raw meat and poultry, unclean water and unpasteurized milk; Salmonella species, bacteria found in raw meat and poultry and dairy products; Shigella species, bacteria spread through poor hygiene and found in undercooked or raw food.

While bacterial cause is the top reason of acquiring diarrhoea, or more particularly traveller’s diarrhoea, viral infection has been found the reason in every one in every three cases (or 10-15% of all cases), notably rotavirus and Norwalk, which are passed between humans due to poor hygiene. On the other hand, Giardia intestinalis, found in contaminated water and spread through poor hygiene; Cryptosporidium parvum and Cyclospora, both parasites found in contaminated food and water; and Entamoeba hystolytica, are the parasitic infections (2-10% of all cases) that cause traveller’s diarrhoea. Although TD can be caused by either bacteria, virus or parasites, there is 1/5 to ½ of all diarrhoea cases that is unknown and thought to be gastrointestinal response to basically unfamiliar microorganisms transmitted inside the individual’s system.

So once and for all, where can travelers possibly acquire these micro organisms responsible for diarrhoea? The answer is, those totally risky foods which include the following:
• Undercooked, raw or rare meats and seafood
• Raw and peeled fruits and vegetables (most especially if the travelers did not peel them personally)
• Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce (because of possible harmful pesticides and/ or fertilizers used on them)
• Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products
• Sauces and mayonnaise
• Foods bought from street vendors
• Food buffets
• Any hot food that has been left long enough at room temperature and has already cooled, and;
• Contaminated water and other drinks

In essence, traveller’s diarrhoea can be acquired in any country but the regarded high-risk areas for people from developed countries are the most places in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and Southern part of America, where 50% of attack rates have been reported.

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