Health A-Z

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What Is It?

Traveler's diarrhea is an infection of the intestines that affects about 50% of people who visit the developing world. It comes from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Traveler's diarrhea usually is caused by bacteria (most commonly E. coli). It also can be caused by viruses or parasites. The diarrhea is usually not serious and goes away without treatment. However, when diarrhea is very watery and occurs often, dehydration may occur. Dehydration is the biggest danger of traveler's diarrhea.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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