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Am J Epidemiol. 1977 Jan;105(1):37-41.

Diarrhea of travelers to Mexico. Relative susceptibility of United States and Latin American students attending a Mexican University.


A clinic was established at Universidad de las Americas, Cholula, Puebla, Mexico for the study of acute diarrhea rates in newly-arrived students and full-time students. Diarrhea occurred in 22 of 55 newlly-arrived U.S. summer students (40%), compared to 28 of 142 U.S. full-time students (20%), 4 of 29 Venezuelan summer and full-time students (14%) and 7 of 66 Mexican full-time students (11%) (the differences were significant, p less than 0.005). Recurrent episodes of diarrhea during the month of study occurred in 15% of U.S. summer students, 4% of U.S. full-time students, and were non-existent in students from Latin America. As well as the 61 students with diarrhea enrolled in the incidence study, all students who developed diarrhea at the univeristy were encouraged to visit the clinic. This gave a total population of 130 cases of diarrhea. The illness that developed in students form the U.S. varied widely, but it typically consisted of seven to 13 unformed stools during the first 48 hours of illness, with illness persiting three to five days. Illness tended to be more severe in the U.S. students. Fifty per cent of the U.S. students with diarrhea had "severe" illness (greater than or equal to 10 unformed stools in first 48 hours) compared to 23% of the Latin Americans. This study indicates that the agents responsible for diarrhea in Latin America are widespread and that resistance to infection develops after prolonged or repeated exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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