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October 1988

Heat Susceptibility of Bacterial Enteropathogens: Implications for the Prevention of Travelers' Diarrhea

Author Affiliations

From the Program in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(10):2261-2263. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380100109023

• The heat susceptibility of four bacterial enteropathogens in foods and water was studied to develop effective recommendations for travelers to regions where diarrheal diseases are important health problems. All enteropathogens tested survived well in foods stored at refrigerator temperature (4°C), room temperature (25°C), and 50°C, which is too hot to touch. Tap water had to be heated above 65°C to reliably kill all bacterial enteropathogens. At 13 of the 14 tourist-oriented hotels in four countries, water from the hot water tap did not reach temperatures of 65°C. The implications of this study are that food and water that are too hot to touch may still be contaminated with bacterial enteropathogens. Travelers should be advised that food, water, or beverages are safe only if they have been brought to boiling or near-boiling temperatures prior to consumption.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:2261-2263)

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