Susceptibility to travelers' diarrhea and histo-blood group antigens

Hoonmo L Koo, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) have been associated with susceptibility to enteric pathogens including noroviruses (NoVs), enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), Campylobacter jejuni, and Vibrio cholerae. We performed a retrospective cohort study to evaluate the relationship between traveler HBGA phenotypes and susceptibility to travelers' diarrhea (TD) and post-infectious complications. 364 travelers to Guadalajara, Mexico were followed prospectively from June 1 - September 30, 2007 and from June 7–July 28, 2008 for the development of TD and at 6 months for post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PIIBS). Noroviruses were detected from illness stool specimens with RT-PCR. Diarrheal stool samples were also assayed for enterotoxigenic and enteroaggregative E. coli, Salmonella species, Shigella species, Vibrio species, Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia enterocolitica, Aeromonas species, and Plesiomonas species. Diarrheal stools were evaluated for inflammation with fecal leukocytes, mucus, and occult blood. Phenotyping for ABO and Lewis antigens with an ELISA assay and FUT2 gene PCR genotyping for secretor status were performed with saliva. 171 of 364 (47%) subjects developed TD. HBGA typing for the travelers revealed O (62.9%), A (34.6%), B (1.6%), and AB (0.8%) phenotypes. There were 7% nonsecretors and 93% secretors among the travelers. AB phenotypes were more commonly associated with Cryptosporidium species (P=0.04) and ETEC ( P=0.08) as causes of TD. AB and B phenotype individuals were more likely to experience inflammatory diarrhea, particularly mucoid diarrhea ( P=0.02). However, there were relatively few individuals with AB and B phenotypes. GI and GII NoV and Cryptosporidium species infections and PI-IBS were identified only in secretors, but these differences were not statistically significant, (P=1.00), (P=1.00), and (P=0.60), respectively. Additional studies are needed to evaluate whether AB phenotype individuals may be more susceptible to developing TD associated with Cryptosporidium species or ETEC, and whether AB and B phenotype individuals may be more likely to develop inflammatory TD. Further studies are needed to investigate whether nonsecretor travelers may be at less risk for developing infections with NoVs and Cryptosporidium species and PI-IBS.

Subject Area

Medicine|Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Koo, Hoonmo L, "Susceptibility to travelers' diarrhea and histo-blood group antigens" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1470637.