Travel-related acquisition of diarrhoeagenic bacteria, enteral viruses and parasites in a prospective cohort of 98 Dutch travellers

Jarne M. van Hattem*, Maris S. Arcilla, Martin P. Grobusch, Aldert Bart, Martin C. Bootsma, Perry J. van Genderen, Tom van Gool, Abraham Goorhuis, Jaap J. van Hellemond, Richard Molenkamp, Nicky Molhoek, Astrid M. Oude lashof, Ellen E. Stobberingh, Bob de Wever, Henri A. Verbrugh, Damian C. Melles, John Penders, Constance Schultsz, Menno D. de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Limited prospective data are available on the acquisition of viral, bacterial and parasitic diarrhoeagenic agents by healthy individuals during travel.

Methods: To determine the frequency of travel associated acquisition of 19 pathogens in 98 intercontinental travellers, qPCR was used to detect 8 viral pathogens, 6 bacterial enteric pathogens and 5 parasite species in faecal samples collected immediately before and after travel.

Results: We found high pre-travel carriage rates of Blastocystis spp. and Dientamoeba fragilis of 32% and 19% respectively. Pre-travel prevalences of all other tested pathogens were below 3%. Blastocystis spp. (10%), Plesiomonas shigelloides (7%), D. fragilis (6%) and Shigella spp. (5%) were the most frequently acquired pathogens and acquisition of enteral viruses and hepatitis E virus in this relatively small group of travellers was rare or non-existent.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the role of viruses as the cause of persisting traveller's diarrhoea is limited and bacterial pathogens are more likely as a cause of traveller's diarrhoea. The substantial proportion of travellers carrying Blastocystis spp. and D. fragilis before travel warrants cautious interpretation of positive samples in returning travellers with gastrointestinal complaints. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-36
Number of pages4
JournalTravel Medicine and Infectious Disease
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • Travel
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Acquisition

Cite this