From Philadelphia, at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
A skin patch can prime the immune system to fend off traveler's diarrhea, a test shows.
Bacteria that contaminate food and water in developing countries cause roughly 17 million cases of diarrhea each year, many in visitors to those countries. To test a vaccine against a strain of Escherichia coli responsible for a large fraction of these bouts, researchers enlisted U.S. volunteers who were planning travel to Mexico or Guatemala. Shortly before each traveler's departure, the scientists mildly abraded a small area of each person's skin and then applied a patch. One-third got the vaccine; the others received an inert patch.
During roughly 2 weeks of travel, 170 participants kept diaries of their health. Five percent of those getting the vaccine patch and 21 percent of those getting the placebo reported a moderate or severe case of diarrhea on their trips, repor