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IBD travelers are not at higher risk of contracting intestinal infections
Date:1/25/2012

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) travelers have an increased risk of illness during trips to industrialized countries, but not to developing or tropical regions, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

"Inflammatory bowel disease patients are often advised to avoid travel, especially to the developing world. However, we found that the absolute risk of illness is small and most episodes were mild," said Shomron Ben-Horin, MD, of the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel and lead author of this study. "If an inflammatory bowel disease patient has been in remission for at least three months, I recommend they take their dream vacation."

In this study, doctors studied 222 IBD patients and 224 healthy individuals (controls) during 1,099 total trips. They collected data via structured questionnaires, personal interviews and chart reviews. While traveling to industrialized countries, illness occurred during 13.9 percent of the trips made by IBD patients in contrast to 3.3 percent of trips made by controls. However, during travel to developing or tropical regions, the rate of illness was similar between both groups: 17 percent for IBD patients versus 21 percent for controls. Because traveler diarrhea and other intestinal infectious diseases predominately afflict travelers to developing countries, this unexpected observation suggests that IBD travelers as a whole do not stand a higher risk of contracting intestinal infections while traveling compared with the non-IBD population. Interestingly, IBD patients who had set out to travel after enjoying more than three months without symptomatic disease (a state termed as clinical remission) had an overall similar risk of illness during the trip as their healthy counterparts, regardless of the country destinations.

IBD is a chronic and often debilitating intestinal disorder, which adverse
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Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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