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Travel Med Infect Dis. 2009 Nov;7(6):337-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2009.09.001. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

Outcomes of diarrhea management in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

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  • 1Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC, USA.



Among deployed U.S. military personnel, a sub-population of international travelers, acute infectious diarrhea continues to be a leading cause of morbidity and a potential threat to military effectiveness.


To assess outcomes and satisfaction of diarrhea management in the field, a systematic survey was given to military personnel during mid- or post-deployment from Iraq or Afghanistan, from January through August 2004.


Sixty-three percent of those surveyed reported at least one episode of diarrhea, while less than half sought care for their symptoms. Overall, trends of decreased post-treatment duration were noted as traveler's diarrhea therapy modalities grew more complex, controlling for severity of illness at presentation. Among those reporting diarrhea, the greatest level of satisfaction was seen in treatment with IV fluids (59%) followed by antibiotics (46%) and loperamide (40%). The greatest amount of dissatisfaction was seen in treatments with oral fluids only.


While current standard of care is self-treatment of diarrhea in civilian travelers, the U.S. military lacks standards outlining self-treatment of personnel at the individual level. Further research is needed to develop treatment guidelines on diarrhea management during military deployment.

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