Food Hygiene

Etiology of Diarrhea in Older Children, Adolescents and Adults: A Systematic Review

Fischer Walker CL, Sack D, Black RE, 2010 Etiology of Diarrhea in Older Children, Adolescents and Adults: A Systematic Review. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 4(8): e768. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000768

Diarrhea is an important cause of illness and death around the world and among people of all ages, but unfortunately we often do not know what specific bacterium or virus causes the illness. We conducted a review of the scientific literature with the goal of finding published studies that identified bacteria and viruses among patients with diarrhea in the community and in hospital settings. We initially found nearly 26,000 papers on this topic but narrowed the list to 22 studies that met all of our specific criteria for inclusion in our review. Among patients hospitalized for diarrhea, E coli and Vibrio cholerae were found in more than 49% of people living in middle income and poor countries. Among patients who sought care from their doctor on an outpatient basis, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., and E. histolytica were most often found. In our review we focused on the differences in the distribution of pathogens between patients in inpatient vs. outpatient settings because these estimates may best approximate what we would expect to see if the distribution were applied to global estimates of diarrhea deaths vs. uncomplicated illnesses.

Note that this paper estimated that mortality in children over 5 and adults was 1.8 million deaths per year, which was 3 times the previous estimate for these countries.  The authors did not attribute the route of exposure to the pathogens.



Written by geraldmoy

February 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

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