food market

Travellers’ diarrhoea, caused by viruses, bacteria or protozoa, is the most common infection experienced by travellers, affect over 20 percent of those who travel to high-risk destinations of the world.[1]

These high-risk areas are mostly found in South and South East Asia.[2] The condition occurs equally in male and female travellers and is more common in young adult travellers than in older ones.[3]

But now it seems that there many be other factors involved in one’s inclination towards or susceptibility to traveller’s diarrhoea – namely, blood type.

A new study[4], published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, has found that those with Type A blood are likely to be struck down with travellers’ diarrhoea sooner and more severely. These findings are significant for UK travellers, as nearly half of Brits have type A or AB blood.[5]

Researches gave more than 100 volunteers water containing enterotoxigenic E.coli. The results found that 81% of those with type A blood required medical attention for diarrhoea as a consequence, compared to just 56% in other blood types.

The study concluded that this is due to the way E.coli releases a protein which latches onto the intestinal cells of those with blood type A.

How to avoid travellers’ diarrhoea

Travellers’ diarrhoea is defined as the passing of three or more loose/watery bowel motions within a 24-hour period. It can be accompanied by other symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.[6] Risk factors involved in travellers’ diarrhoea can include choice of eating place, season of travel, destination, diet, age and genetics.[7]

But despite being a common condition faced by many jet-setters, there are things you can do to significantly reduce your chances of contracting the disease.

The World Health Organisation has outlined their 5 key tips to enjoying safer food abroad, in an attempt to prevent the spread of food-borne diseases. These tips are:

  • Keep clean – wash your hands often, especially before handling food
  • Separate raw and cooked food – make sure cooked food is not contaminated with raw food
  • Cook food thoroughly – make sure food has been entirely cook and remains steaming hot
  • Keep food at safe temperatures – avoid food which has been left out such as at markets, buffers and street vendors
  • Choose safe food and water – Only drink sealed bottled water, or bring water to boil first. Peel all fruits and vegetables before consumption.[8]

The right medication can also offer a vital precautionary measure for travellers. Having access to effective travellers’ diarrhoea medication means that, should you fall victim to the infection, you are able to deal with your symptoms swiftly. Traveller’s diarrhoea treatment such as Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin are available from Express Pharmacy.

Planning your next trip? Find effective medication at Express Pharmacy to ensure you stay safe. Get in touch today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.


[1] Travel Health Pro. Travellers’ Diarrhoea Fact Sheet. 2019 [Accessed March 2019]

[2] British Medical Journal. Travellers’ diarrhoea clinical review. 2016 [Accessed March 2019]

[3] Connor, B.A. Traveller’s Diarrhoea.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017 [Accessed March 2019]

[4] Kumar, P. et al. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli-blood group A interactions intensify diarrheal severity. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[5] NHS Blood and Transplant. Blood Types. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[6] NHS Fit For Travel. Travellers’ Diarrhoea. 2019 [Accessed March 2019]

[7] Hill, D.R., Beeching, N.J. Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Cur Opin Infect Dis. 2010 [Accessed March 2019]

[8] World Health Organisation. A Guide on Safe Food for Travellers. 2010 [Accessed March 2019]