Global Impact of Diarrheal Diseases That Are Sampled by Travelers: The Rest of the Hippopotamus

Guerrant, Richard L.; Oria, Reinaldo; Bushen, Oluma Y.; Patrick, Peter D.; Houpt, Eric; Lima, Aldo A. M.
December 2005
Clinical Infectious Diseases;12/2/2005, Vol. 41, pS524
Academic Journal
Travelers who experience diarrhea (i.e., "turista") are exposed to the same pathogens and illnesses that pose some of the greatest threats to life and development among malnourished children in developing areas around the world, where inadequate water and poor sanitation remain. This article focuses on new findings about the impact, diagnosis, and control of these illnesses and the genetic predispositions of persons who acquire them. Despite the reductions in mortality due to dehydrating diarrhea, the morbidity associated with diarrheal illnesses continues unabated. Furthermore, we increasingly recognize the lasting detrimental effects of enteric infections that occur during early childhood on later physical and cognitive development and, in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, on the absorption of antiretroviral drugs. Genetic predispositions to inflammation and potential protection associated with such alleles as ApoE4, which are not suspected of being involved in diarrhea, remind us of how much we have to learn about the effect and interactions of enteric tropical infectious diseases with regard to our host genome. New diagnostic methods hold promise for improved recognition and, hopefully, control of enteric infections worldwide.


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