Volume 96, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



This prospective cohort study describes travelers' diarrhea (TD) and non-TD gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms among international travelers from the Boston area, the association of TD with traveler characteristics and dietary practices, use of prescribed antidiarrheal medications, and the impact of TD and non-TD GI symptoms on planned activities during and after travel. We included adults who received a pre-travel consultation at three Boston-area travel clinics and who completed a three-part survey: pre-travel, during travel, and post-travel (2–4 weeks after return). TD was defined as self-reported diarrhea with or without nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, or fever. Demographic and travel characteristics were evaluated by χ test for categorical and Wilcoxon rank-sum test for continuous variables. Analysis of dietary practices used logistic generalized estimating equation models or logistic regression models. Of 628 travelers, 208 (33%) experienced TD and 45 (7%) experienced non-TD GI symptoms. Of 208 with TD, 128 (64%), 71 (36%), and 123 (62%) were prescribed ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, and/or loperamide before travel, respectively. Thirty-nine (36%) of 108 took ciprofloxacin, 20 (38%) of 55 took azithromycin, and 28 (28%) of 99 took loperamide during travel. Of 172 with TD during travel, 24% stopped planned activities, and 2% were hospitalized. Of 31 with non-TD GI symptoms during travel, six (13%) stopped planned activities. International travelers continue to experience diarrhea and other GI symptoms, resulting in disruption of planned activities and healthcare visits for some. Although these illnesses resulted in interruption of travel plans, a relatively small proportion took prescribed antibiotics.


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  • Received : 06 Jun 2016
  • Accepted : 11 Feb 2017
  • Published online : 27 Mar 2017

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