Lynn Meurs, PhDEPIET fellow at Robert Koch InstituteEuropean Centre for Disease Prevention and ControlGermany

Travelers Can Bring Home Drug-Resistant Bacteria as Souvenirs from Low and Middle Income Countries Interview with:

Lynn Meurs, PhDEPIET fellow at Robert Koch InstituteEuropean Centre for Disease Prevention and ControlGermany

Dr. Meurs

Lynn Meurs, PhD
EPIET fellow at Robert Koch Institute
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Germany What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is unknown how Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL) -producing bacteria are spread, but several studies have shown that intercontinental travellers often return home with these drug-resistant bacteria.

The aim of our study was to investigate into more detail what causes colonisation with these bacteria in people travelling to low and/or middle-income countries  (LMICs) in the tropics and subtropics. We found that out of the travellers that were ESBL-negative before travelling, 23% of returned with ESBL-producing bacteria. In line with previous studies, we found that travelling to Eastern, Southern, and Western Asia is associated with ESBL colonisation.

Unexpectedly, we furthermore found that staying in a hotel as well as in private accommodation as compared to other types of commercial accommodation such as hostels, camping or guesthouses, was associated with the colonisation with these drug-resistant bacteria. What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Although not all returning travellers are colonised with these drug-resistant bacteria, high-risk travellers, e.g. returning those returning from Asia, should be aware that they may be carrying these drug-resistant bactaria during, and in the weeks after travel. Returning travellers should also know that they can prevent the spread of these bacteria to others by maintaining good hand hygiene. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Larger studies are needed to better pinpoint which factors may predispose intercontinental travellers to get colonised, and how colonisation might be prevented. In addition, ESBL transmission within the countries where the problem lies, need to be better understood.

No disclosures


ECCMID 2019 abstract discussing:

Staying in a hotel or private accommodation is associated with contracting and carrying home drug-resistant bacteria in travellers to low and/or middle-income countries 

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Last Updated on April 16, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD