The Traveling Microbiome

Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2016 Sep;18(9):29. doi: 10.1007/s11908-016-0536-7.


Given the recent interest in the human gut microbiome in health and disease, we have undertaken a review of the role of the gut microbiome as it relates to travel. Considering the microbiome as the interface with the external world of the traveler, not only from the perspective of protection from enteric infection by colonization resistance but also the possibility that a traveler's unique microbiome may place him or her at lesser or greater risk for enteric infection. We review available data on travel, travelers' diarrhea, and the use of antibiotics as it relates to changes in the microbiome and the acquisition of multi-drug-resistant bacteria and explore the interplay of these factors in the development of dysbiosis and the post-infectious sequelae of TD, specifically PI-IBS. In addition, we explore whether dietary changes in travel affect the gut microbiome in a way which modulates gastrointestinal function and susceptibility to infection and discuss whether pre- or probiotics have any meaningful role in prevention or treatment of TD. Finally, a discussion of important research gaps and opportunities in this area is identified.

Keywords: Dysbiosis; Microbiome; Travelers’ diarrhea.

Publication types

  • Review