Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study finds medication prevents travelers’ diarrhea


Antibiotic is effective, lacks side effects and doesn’t provoke resistance in bacteria

An antibiotic can be safely used to prevent attacks of diarrhea that plague millions of globe-trotting vacationers and business travelers, a Houston research team reports this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "Our findings show that rifaximin is an ideal drug for prevention of travelers’ diarrhea, an illness that affects an estimated 20 million international travelers each year," said lead author Herbert DuPont, M.D., director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston and chief of internal medicine at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital.

"This medication’s effectiveness, lack of side effects, and its ability to avoid development of resistant strains of bacteria will allow us to change the way we manage this disease," DuPont said.

The clinical trial reported this week followed 210 U.S. students studying Spanish in Mexico during the summer of 2003. Only 14.74 percent of those who took a daily dose of rifaximin for two weeks suffered from diarrhea, while 53.7 percent of those who took placebos came down with the illness, which also includes nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

Traveler’s diarrhea has been treated for years by antibiotics because it is caused by bacteria found mainly in local food. DuPont’s group previously showed that rifaximin is safe and effective therapy for the illness in studies carried out in Mexico, Peru, India and Kenya. The antibiotic has been available in Europe and elsewhere for years to treat diarrhea. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the antibiotic for treatment of traveler’s diarrhea a year ago.

But would the treatment also prevent the whole unpleasant experience? And, importantly, would it do so without provoking development of a drug-resistant response by the targeted bacteria?

This last point is crucial, DuPont said, because using other antibiotics such as Cipro as a broad preventive measure would hasten development of bacterial resistance, reducing the future value of the antibiotic to treat pneumonia and other life-threatening diseases.

Lab analysis in the study showed rifaximin did not stimulate resistance in the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that causes the illness in Mexico, a finding consistent with earlier studies. Unlike other antibiotics, which are absorbed and dispersed throughout the body, research has found rifaximin lingers almost exclusively in the gastrointestinal tract, limiting its ability to stimulate resistance.

Researchers are following up with studies of the drug in Asia, where traveler’s diarrhea is caused by other bacteria, such as Shigella, Salmonella and Campylobacter.

And they are following up an earlier finding that 10 percent of those who get traveler’s diarrhea develop the more serious irritable bowel syndrome. "If it is found that this drug prevents irritable bowel syndrome, then rifaximin prevention of travelers’ diarrhea will go from a good idea to a critical health safeguard," DuPont said.

Co-authors with DuPont, who is also a clinical professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, are: Zhi-Dong Jiang, Ph.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases in the UT School of Public Health; Pablo Okhuysen, M.D., and Charles Ericsson, M.D., professors of infectious diseases at the UT Medical School at Houston; Francisco Javier de la Cabada, M.D., professor of infectious diseases and internal medicine at the University of Guadalajara: Shi Ke, M.D. assistant professor of experimental diagnostic imaging, UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; Margaret DuPont, research associate in infectious diseases, UT Medical School at Houston; Francisco Martinez-Sandoval, M.D., dean of the international program at Universidad de Guadalajara.

Scott Merville | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>