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Despite its humorous aliases, such as the Aztec two-step, Montezuma's revenge, and turista, traveler's diarrhea is hardly a joke. With almost half of US visitors to a host of countries coming down with this uncomfortable, debilitating, and sometimes dangerous condition, the strong possibility of a vaccine against the offending organism is good news indeed.
Speaking at the recent Digestive Disease Week meetings in Chicago, gastroenterologist LTC Edgar C. Boedeker, MC, USA, of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, DC, described progress toward such a vaccine. The broad plan is to thwart the action of the strains of Escherichia coli that cause the disorder by keeping them from adhering to cells lining the intestine, particularly the small intestine. If they cannot adhere, they pass harmlessly from the body.
Normally, the bacteria attach to the mucosa with their pili, and it is against these threadlike projections that Boedeker and his
Reed M. Vaccine against traveler's diarrhea nearing readiness for clinical trials. JAMA. 1982;247(24):3295. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320490003001
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