Post-Infectious Sequelae of Travelers' Diarrhea

Authors


Corresponding Author: Bradley A. Connor, MD, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 50 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA. E-mail: bconnor1@gmail.com

Abstract

Background

Travelers' diarrhea (TD) has generally been considered a self-limited disorder which resolves more quickly with expeditious and appropriate antibiotic therapy given bacteria are the most frequently identified cause. However, epidemiological, clinical, and basic science evidence identifying a number of chronic health conditions related to these infections has recently emerged which challenges this current paradigm. These include serious and potentially disabling enteric and extra-intestinal long-term complications. Among these are rheumatologic, neurologic, gastrointestinal, renal, and endocrine disorders. This review aims to examine and summarize the current literature pertaining to three of these post-infectious disorders: reactive arthritis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome and the relationship of these conditions to diarrhea associated with travel as well as to diarrhea associated with gastroenteritis which may not be specifically travel related but relevant by shared microbial pathogens. It is hoped this review will allow clinicians who see travelers to be aware of these post-infectious sequelae thus adding to our body of knowledge in travel medicine.

Methods

Data for this article were identified by searches of PubMed and MEDLINE, and references from relevant articles using search terms “travelers' diarrhea” “reactive arthritis” “Guillain-Barré syndrome” “Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Abstracts were included when related to previously published work.

Results and Conclusions

A review of the published literature reveals that potential consequences of travelers' diarrhea may extend beyond the acute illness and these post-infectious complications may be more common than currently recognized. In addition since TD is such a common occurrence it would be helpful to be able to identify those who might be at greater risk of post-infectious sequelae in order to target more aggressive prophylactic or therapeutic approaches to such individuals. It is hoped this review will allow clinicians who see travelers to be aware of these post-infectious sequelae thus adding to our body of knowledge in travel medicine.

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