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(dīərē`ə), frequent discharge of watery feces from the intestines, sometimes containing blood and mucus. It can be caused by excessive indulgence in alcohol or other liquids or foods that prove irritating to the stomach or intestine, by allergy to certain food products, by poisoning with heavy metals, by chemicals such as are found in cathartics, by hyperactivity of the nervous system, and by infection with a virus (intestinal grippe) or with bacteria or their toxins. Diarrhea is a concomitant of many infectious diseases, especially typhoid fevertyphoid fever
acute, generalized infection caused by Salmonella typhi. The main sources of infection are contaminated water or milk and, especially in urban communities, food handlers who are carriers.
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, bacillary or amebic dysenterydysentery
, inflammation of the intestine characterized by the frequent passage of feces, usually with blood and mucus. The two most common causes of dysentery are infection with a bacillus (see bacteria) of the Shigella group, and infestation by an ameba,
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, and choleracholera
or Asiatic cholera,
acute infectious disease caused by strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that have been infected by bacteriophages. The bacteria, which are found in fecal-contaminated food and water and in raw or undercooked seafood, produce a
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. Persistent diarrhea may result in severe dehydration and shock. It is therefore necessary to replace the fluid lost by the body. Treatment is with a bland diet and drugs that will decrease the activity of the intestines, as well as with specific measures directed at the underlying cause. The elderly are at especially high risk for diarrheal deaths caused by viruses. Ulcerative colitis is an inflamatory and ulcerative disease of the colon, properly described as "irritable bowl," and characterized by bloody diarrhea. Crohn's disease affects the distal ileum and colon, but may occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus and perianal area. The symptoms are chronic diarrhea associated with abdominal pain, fever, anorexia, weight loss, and a mass or fullness in the right lower quadrant (of the abdomen).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



frequent excretion of liquid intestinal contents. Diarrhea is the main symptom of such acute bacterial and viral intestinal diseases as dysentery, food poisonings, and colienteritis, as well as of cholera, intestinal invasions, and other inflammatory intestinal diseases. It can also be a symptom of chronic lesions of other digestive organs, for example, the stomach and pancreas; of general chronic diseases, such as tuberculosis; and of acute and chronic poisonings of exogenous (as from heavy metals) and endogenous (from renal insufficiency) origin. Diarrhea may also result from metabolic disturbances, from ingestion of excessive or coarse food, or from neuroses. In addition, it occurs in infantile, fermentative, and putrefactive dyspepsia.

The development of diarrhea is related to the liquefaction of the intestinal contents owing to an inflammatory exudate or to an accumulation of fluid in the intestinal lumen when the fluid’s absorption is hindered. The intestinal contents move more rapidly, stimulated by the prostaglandins, and there is a change in the transport of sodium and other electrolytes as well as osmotic shifts in the intestine. False, or constipation, diarrhea is a secondary liquefaction of the intestinal contents during prolonged constipation; a small quantity of liquid feces is excreted frequently.

The diagnosis of diarrhea varies with the disease and is based on the medical history and on examination of the feces. Therapy consists of treatment of the basic disease; special diets, antiinfectives, astringents, and enzymes are prescribed for symptomatic relief.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The passage of loose or watery stools, usually at more frequent than normal intervals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(esp US), diarrhea
frequent and copious discharge of abnormally liquid faeces
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Characteristics of and co-administered treatments for 288 travelers with travelers' diarrhea * Total LO-AMD- LO+AMD- Characteristics no.
Your type of travel, the season, the precautions you take to prevent it, and your children's ages can also affect your risk of getting travelers' diarrhea. Generally, young children and teenagers are more likely to get travelers' diarrhea.
Some antibiotics administered in a once-a-day dose are 90% effective at preventing travelers' diarrhea; however, antibiotics are not recommended as prophylaxis.
A 500-mg dose of the antibiotic along with the antimotility agent, taken immediately after the first loose stool, often can preempt a full-bore bout of travelers' diarrhea, Dr.
What is the epidemiology of travelers' diarrhea, and why is it important?
Recommendations regarding travelers' diarrhea (TD) address prevention and management.
Analysis results for 5 enteroaggregative Escherichia coli strains that produced travelers' diarrhea in patients returning from India, 2005-2006 * Strain PFGE type MLST Phylotype Genes encoding for clonal virulence factors complex HC19 A ST38 D aat, aap, aggR, aggA HC64 B None B2 aat, astA, sat HC67 C ST38 D aat, astA HC74 A1 ST38 D aat, aap, aggR, aggA, afn43, fyuA HC76 D ST10 B2 aat, fyuA Strain [bla.sub.CTX-M-15] location HC19 Chromosome HC64 Plasmid HC67 Plasmid HC74 Chromosome HC76 Plasmid * PFGE, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis; MLST, multilocus sequence type; ST, sequence type.
Rifamycin SV MMX is a broad spectrum, semi-synthetic antibiotic with negligible systemic absorption and is being developed for the treatment of travelers' diarrhea, according to the company.
School of Medicine) describes everything from the basics of gastroenterology to pharmaceutical causes of gastrointestinal problems, the testy relationship between the esophagus and stomach, disorders related to stomach, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease (and its relation to genetics), colitis, malnutrition (including common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies), intestinal infections, gastroenteritis, food borne illnesses, travelers' diarrhea, gastrointestinal cancer, colonoscopy, esophageal cancer, the pancreas and gall bladder, pancreatitis, gallstones, the liver and its diseases, and the effects of over-the-counter drugs on the liver.
Other problems may include animal bites, envenomation, sexually transmitted infections for adolescents, travelers' diarrhea, and altitude illness, Dr.
Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) (one double-strength tablet daily) has also been shown to be effective as a prophylactic agent against travelers' diarrhea, but drug resistance is now common in tropical areas.
Although it cannot be determined whether the source of infection in the traveler to Ecuador was consumption of raw oysters, ceviche, or contaminated ice or some other vehicle of infection, this case illustrates the need for travelers to areas with epidemic cholera to follow scrupulously the precautions described for prevention of travelers' diarrhea (7 ).