, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 382–391 | Cite as

Treatment of Traveller’s Diarrhoea

Economic Aspects
  • Mike A. Thomson
  • Ian W. Booth
Leading Article


Traveller’s diarrhoea (TD) is an enteric infective disease seen in 30 to 50% of the 30 million people who travel annually from the developed world to developing countries. It is the commonest disorder affecting international travellers. Although usually trivial, a significant minority of patients may develop a more protracted disease with an attendant increase in morbidity. This may then incur financial costs to the travellers themselves and to the healthcare systems of the host and origin countries.

Advice regarding risk avoidance has so far proved ineffective in altering the behaviour of travellers and consequently the incidence of TD among them. Hard data are lacking on the cost effectiveness and cost benefit of prophylaxis and treatment of TD. Thus, we have attempted to quantify, as far as is possible, the total cost of TD and to set this against the potential savings from avoiding TD if prophylaxis or treatment options were universally employed. It must be noted that the financial benefit-cost ratio of an intervention may not be the most suitable measure of its desirability. However, such concepts as the success of travel are inherently difficult to quantify in economic terms. This analysis applies to travellers from the UK and economic variations between countries will affect the outcomes obtained.

Nevertheless, given these necessary constraints, all possible treatment options have a more favourable benefit-cost ratio than prophylaxis. In conclusion, the case for prophylaxis is not strong except in selected high risk groups, and limited self-treatment seems economically justified.


Diarrhea Cholera Acute Diarrhea Tropical Sprue Oral Cholera Vaccine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike A. Thomson
    • 1
  • Ian W. Booth
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Child HealthUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamEngland

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