Impact of international travel and diarrhea on gut microbiome and resistome dynamics

Manish Boolchandani, Kevin S. Blake, Drake H. Tilley, Miguel M. Cabada, Drew J. Schwartz, Sanket Patel, Maria Luisa Morales, Rina Meza, Giselle Soto, Sandra D. Isidean, Chad K. Porter, Mark P. Simons*, Gautam Dantas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


International travel contributes to the global spread of antimicrobial resistance. Travelers’ diarrhea exacerbates the risk of acquiring multidrug-resistant organisms and can lead to persistent gastrointestinal disturbance post-travel. However, little is known about the impact of diarrhea on travelers’ gut microbiomes, and the dynamics of these changes throughout travel. Here, we assembled a cohort of 159 international students visiting the Andean city of Cusco, Peru and applied next-generation sequencing techniques to 718 longitudinally-collected stool samples. We find that gut microbiome composition changed significantly throughout travel, but taxonomic diversity remained stable. However, diarrhea disrupted this stability and resulted in an increased abundance of antimicrobial resistance genes that can remain high for weeks. We also identified taxa differentially abundant between diarrheal and non-diarrheal samples, which were used to develop a classification model that distinguishes between these disease states. Additionally, we sequenced the genomes of 212 diarrheagenic Escherichia coli isolates and found those from travelers who experienced diarrhea encoded more antimicrobial resistance genes than those who did not. In this work, we find the gut microbiomes of international travelers’ are resilient to dysbiosis; however, they are also susceptible to colonization by multidrug-resistant bacteria, a risk that is more pronounced in travelers with diarrhea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7485
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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