Two problems of medical interest related to the 1968 Olympic Games to be held in Mexico City are the effects of altitude and of acute gastroenteritis on world-class athletic performance. Altitude effects have been well-studied, and appropriate training programs have been suggested to minimize the effects of hypoxia on performance.1
International travelers are aware of the debilitating effects of an explosive diarrhea. Tourists' diarrhea has many regional synonyms and is global in distribution. It can be brief, mild, and uncomfortable or severe and prostrating. Even a small impairment in sphincter control alone could mean losing an Olympic event.
The cause of tourist diarrhea is unknown. The excellent studies of Kean2 concern the incidence, cause, and prevention of diarrhea among US visitors to interior Mexico. Kean has shown that one fourth to one third of the visitors contract diarrhea. Bacteriologic studies suggested that changes in the flora of the
Nicholas WC, Kollias J, Buskirk ER, Tershak MJ. Prophylactic Use of Succinylsulfathiazole and Performance Capacities: A Pilot Study of College Runners. JAMA. 1968;205(11):761. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140370059012
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