Foreign tourists to India take back life-long tummy troubles with them: Study

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LUCKNOW: A large number of tourists from the developed world visiting India suffer from acute diarrhoea during their stay in the country. What’s worse is that many of them go back with life-long damage to their digestive tract including the stomach, shows a study conducted jointly by the gastroenterology department of Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Dhaka Medical College, and International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, under the guidance of Prof Uday C. Ghoshal.
“While most people dismiss the problem as a routine digestive tract infection, the impact can persist for life,” said Prof Ghoshal from SGPGIMS. He has authored the paper with Dr M Masudar Rahman of Bangladesh.
Under review for publication in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (a high-impact medical journal by the Nature publishing group), the paper showed how acute diarrhoea will make people suffer through life. The researchers evaluated 345 people, including tourists who visited India, who got diarrhoea.
“We found that around 17% subjects suffered from post-infection dyspepsia—a condition marked by loss of appetite, nausea, and feeling of fullness and pain in upper abdomen. Likewise, around 7% of the subjects suffered from post-infection irritable bowel syndrome which caused cramps in the lower part of the abdomen and altered bowel habits,” said Prof Ghoshal.
He added that these people suffer because post-infection dyspepsia is a relatively new disease. As a result, a number of general physicians are not aware of the problem and end up trying different antibiotics on patients which adds to their problem.
Acute diarrhoea is a common problem experienced by travelers to Asia, particularly to India from developed countries. Even as Swachh Bharat is a national flagship program, experts blamed poor hygiene for the trend.
“Failure to adhere to hand-washing, use of unsafe drinking water and sale of unsafe street food are some of the reasons that cause trouble. A lack of immunity in those coming from developed countries to India is also a cause,” he said.

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