Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 4, Issue 3, Pages 153-157
Original Article

Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Infection among International Travellers Returning to Canada

Margaret L Russell, Edgar J Love, and Larissa KF Temple

Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada

Received 10 March 1992; Accepted 15 September 1992

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: To describe the prevalence of parasitic and bacterial gastrointestinal infection (excluding enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli) among international travellers attending the International Travel Clinic at The University of Calgary.

Methods: Data were abstracted from the records of the first visit after travel of all persons making a post travel visit between January 1, 1986 and March 31, 1990.

Results: Data were available for 886 first visits (840 persons). Stools were submitted by 692 travellers. The frequency of stool submission varied by the duration of travel abroad, and the frequency of diarrhea either during or after the trip was greater among those who had submitted a stool specimen. The prevalence of stools positive for ova, parasites or pathogenic bacteria was 41.2%. When only pathogenic organisms were considered, the prevalence of infection was 19.4%. The most commonly isolated pathogenic parasites were Dientamoeba fragilis, Giardia lamblia, and Entamoeba histolytica. The most commonly isolated bacteria were Campylobacter species and Salmonella species.

Conclusions: Although the prevalence of positive stool screens among returned travellers in this population was high, only about one-fifth of persons tested were positive for pathogens.