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Troublesome Thai travels
  1. Ben Christopher Reynolds1,
  2. Sophie Hambleton2,
  3. Dieter Friedrich Dammann3,
  4. Heather Joan Lambert1,
  5. Marieke Emonts2
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Nephrology, Great North Children's Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Immunology, Infectious Disease and Allergy, Great North Children's Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  3. 3Department of General Paediatrics, Friarage Hospital, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ben C Reynolds, Department of Paediatric Nephrology, Great North Children's Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 4LP, UK; pinkdoc{at}

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A previously fit and well 15-year-old Caucasian boy presented with a week of intermittent pyrexia, non-bloody, non-mucoid diarrhoea and bilious vomiting. He also presented with persistent headache, general myalgia, and had episodes of rigours. He had returned 48 hours previously from a family holiday touring Thailand for three weeks with no travel towards the Vietnamese and Laos borders. All recommended pretravel immunisations had been given; antimalarial prophylaxis was not considered necessary in the areas of travel. He had travelled with both parents and his younger brother; during the trip all had engaged in open-water swimming, and eaten partly cooked meat. All family members experienced mild diarrhoea but got better. He seemed to improve but then had recurrence of large volume watery diarrhoea and myalgia for approximately 5 days prior to his return to the UK. He also had multiple insect bites, which had appeared shortly following an elephant ride. He had taken regular ibuprofen, 400 mg three times a day, for his headaches and muscle pain over the last few days. There had been no occasions when the patient had been out of parental supervision and the parents were confident that he had not engaged in any high-risk sexual behaviour. There was no personal or family history of note.

On initial examination, he appeared unwell, was tachycardiac, not tachypnoeic and appeared clinically dehydrated though not shocked (∼5%) with dry mucus membranes, cool fingers, but normal skin turgor. Initial temperature was 37.7°C, rising to 39.4°C within an hour of assessment. Peripheral capillary refill time was 2 s, blood pressure was 130/70 mm Hg. He had a migratory macular erythematous rash (figure 1) over his trunk and limbs, which was intermittent. Several small bites were noted on his legs with moderate surrounding erythema. There was also peeling erythema over the shoulders, assumed to be sunburn. He was not …

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