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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 04

Internist (Berl)

[Potential of tropical diseases in Germany : Important pathogens in travelers and migrants].



Gastrointestinal infections are among the most frequent imported diseases diagnosed in Germany in travelers or migrants from the tropics. Acute traveler's diarrhea is the most frequent illness in long-distance travelers and in high-risk areas (e.g. India, Mexico) around one third of all travelers suffer from diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea plays a role especially after longer stays abroad (> 4 weeks) and in migrants and is often caused by protozoa. Helminths are less frequently the causative agent of gastrointestinal complaints (diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain). A worm infestation of the large and small intestines is often present but helminths can also affect the liver or lead to generalized symptoms of illness when larvae migrate. In principle, in the case of gastrointestinal complaints after exposure to the tropics, the possibility of an imported tropical endemic infectious disease must be considered and appropriate diagnostics initiated. For travelers returning from tropical countries other, sometimes life-threatening diseases, such as malaria, typhoid fever, rickettsiosis and viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) can present with gastrointestinal symptoms and should never be overlooked.