Purpose: Americans travel each year and acquire illnesses. Gastrointestinal illness is a common self-reported illness and has many associated risk factors. Students from a medical school in Virginia traveled to Guatemala to provide medical care. Overall, 1,250 patients were seen by the student doctors. An outbreak investigation was initiated when members of the medical team began experiencing illness. Methods: Food and water safety was inspected and inquiries were made about the health of other travelers staying at the same host. Furthermore, a voluntary brief survey was completed after returning to the United States. The index patient had seen a patient in the clinic with similar symptoms. An incubation period of 24-36 hours was established. Results: After an adequate kitchen inspection including both food and water distribution, it was determined the illness was being spread from person to person. The survey was administered to 93 travelers and 69 completed the survey. Symptoms were reported by 74% of survey respondents. There was no correlation to consumption of food and water. Conclusions: Prevention measures such as hand hygiene practices should be emphasized to prevent spread of the illness among medical travelers. Limitations include recall bias.
O’Connell, Bethesda J. MPH, DrPH; Morales, Giordana MPH; Bogacz, Kathleen P. MD, FACP; Asper, Mariam; and Weaver, Marianna MA
"Travel Illness Outbreak Investigation and Treatment among Interprofessional Health Team Members in Guatemala,"
Virginia Journal of Public Health: Vol. 2:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/vjph/vol2/iss1/4