Holidaymakers may be comforted to know that
traveller's diarrhoea could be a thing of the past. Scientists at
the UK's University of Birmingham's Medical School are set to
sequence the DNA of the bacteria, identifying the causes of the
illness and pointing the way to better cures.
Some 50% of travellers from industrialised nations to less
developed countries experience some degree of stomach problems and
behind all the jokes about "Delhi Belly" there lies a
very serious medical problem.
Enterotoxigenic E.coli (ETEC) is the most common cause of food
and water-borne human diarrhoea world-wide. In developing countries
there are an estimated 650 million cases per year, resulting in
800,000 deaths from dehydration, primarily in children under the
age of five.
Once the elements of DNA that causes diarrhoea is identified
drugs can be targeted to inhibit these bacteria; possibly even
leading to a vaccine against the bugs.
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Page contact: L HandfordLast revised: Fri 23 Jun 2006