Background: The diagnostics of travellers' diarrhoea (TD) has been revolutionised by multiplex qPCR assays. While mostly of bacterial aetiology, viruses and parasites account for the disease among 10-20% of travellers. Despite this, prospective studies applying qPCR assays remain scarce that cover not only bacteria, such as the various diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC), but also viral and parasitic pathogens.
Method: We analysed by qPCR pre- and post-travel stool samples of 146 Finnish travellers for bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens: enteropathogenic (EPEC), enteroaggregative (EAEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC), and enteroinvasive (EIEC) E. coli; Shigella, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Yersinia and Vibrio cholerae; norovirus G1 and G2, rotavirus, enteroviruses, and sapovirus; and Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, and Cryptosporidium. Symptoms and medication data during travel were collected by questionnaires.
Results: We detected bacterial pathogens in 102/146 samples (69.9%; EAEC, EPEC, ETEC most common), viral ones in 13 (8.9%; norovirus most common), and parasitic ones in one (0.7%; Giardia). Noroviruses were associated with severe symptoms (23.5% versus non-severe 4.9%). In the TD group, 41.7% (5/12) of those with viral pathogens (vs. 13.3%; 11/83 without) took antibiotics.
Conclusion: Viral pathogens, particularly noroviruses, prevail in severe TD. The symptoms of viral disease are often severe and lead to unwarranted use of antibiotics.
- 3121 Yleislääketiede, sisätaudit ja muut kliiniset lääketieteet