Annals of Clinical Microbiology, The official Journal of the Korean Society of Clinical Microbiology


Weeks in Review


Weeks to Publication
Indexed in KCI, KoreaMed, Synapse, DOAJ
Open Access, Peer Reviewed
pISSN 2288-0585 eISSN 2288-6850

Detection of the Causative Agents of Traveler’s Diarrhea Using a Real-Time PCR Screening Method

Original article

Annals of Clinical Microbiology (Ann Clin Microbiol) 2009 December, Volume 12, Issue 4, pages 186-192.

Detection of the Causative Agents of Traveler’s Diarrhea Using a Real-Time PCR Screening Method

Semi Jeon1, Junyoung Kim1, Harim Lee2, Minyoung Son2, Misun Park1, Bokkwon Lee1, Seonghan Kim1
1Division of Enteric Bacterial Infections, National Institute of Health, Seoul, 2Gimhae National Quarantine Station, Gimhae, Korea


Background: The incidence of infectious diarrheal disease in Korea has decreased over the past decade, but traveler’s diarrhea (TD) is increasing in frequency. We therefore investigated the distribution of the causative agents of TD.

Methods: A total of 132 rectal swab specimens were acquired from TD patients who entered the country via Gimhae International Airport. The specimens were screened for 12 bacterial pathogens by real-time PCR, and target pathogens were isolated from the PCR positive specimens using conventional microbiological isolation methods.

Results: A total of 93 specimens (70.5%) showed positive PCR screening results, and of these specimens, nine species and 50 isolates (37.9%), including Vibrio parahaemolyticus (18 isolates) and ETEC (17 isolates), were isolated. No specimens were PCR positive for Listeria monocytogenes or Campylobacter jejuni, and no pathogenic Bacillus cereus were isolated.

Conclusion: Even though viruses and EAEC were not included as target pathogens, the high isolation rate of these pathogens in this study provides indirect evidence that most cases of pathogen-negative TD are caused by undetected bacterial agents. Furthermore, our study results confirm the effectiveness of real-time PCR-based screening methods. This study is the first report in Korea to demonstrate that ETEC and V. parahaemolyticus are the major causative pathogens of TD, and this knowledge can be used to help treat and prevent TD. (Korean J Clin Microbiol 2009;12:186-192)


Traveler’s diarrhea, PCR, ETEC