Tropical, Travel and Emerging Infections (L Chen, Section Editor)

Current Infectious Disease Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 203-210

First online:

Chronic Diarrhea in Travelers

  • Bradley A. ConnorAffiliated withDivision of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical College Email author 

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As a rule, travelers’ diarrhea is a self-limited bacterial infection that affects approximately 40 % of travelers to developing countries. Health-care professionals who see returning travelers have noted that some travelers afflicted with diarrhea do not recover completely but, instead, develop chronic diarrhea or a persistent change in gastrointestinal function. Concurrent with this observation has been the recognition that in many patients with long-standing irritable bowel syndrome, an episode of traveler’s diarrhea or gastroenteritis preceded the onset of symptoms. Before a diagnosis of postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome is considered, other diagnostic considerations must be excluded. This review will examine an approach to the patient with chronic diarrhea posttravel.


Travelers’ diarrhea Chronic diarrhea Persistent diarrhea Bacterial diarrhea Clostridium difficile Enteric parasitic infection Celiac disease Inflammatory bowel disease Brainerd diarrhea Postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome