Associated infections in persistent diarrhoea - Another perspective

Anupam Sibal, A. K. Patwari*, V. K. Anand, A. K. Chhabra, Deepak Chandra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Seventy-eight children diagnosed as cases of persistent diarrhoea (PD) from 1 month to 5 years of age (mean age 8.92 months) hospitalized during a 2-year study period were screened for the presence of non-gastrointestinal infections. Clinical screening suggested acute respiratory infection (ARI) in 30 per cent cases, urinary tract infection (UTI) in 19 per cent and acute suppurative otitis media (ASOM) in 10 per cent of cases. Investigations revealed pneumonia on chest X-ray (39 per cent), positive urine culture (32 per cent), leucocytosis (31 per cent) and positive blood culture (22 per cent). Seven cases (9 per cent) of pneumonia and 10 cases (13 per cent) diagnosed to have UTI were not identified on clinical screening and could be detected only after investigations. E. coli was the commonest organism isolated from urine culture (23 per cent) and blood culture (14 per cent); 54 per cent of cases had one or the other associated infection and 28 per cent were suffering from more than one infection. Bacterial pathogens were more frequently isolated from blood in children < 6 months (P < 0.01), with vomiting (P < 0.001), and severe malnutrition (P < 0.05); from urine in association with fever (P < 0.001), duration of diarrhoea > 4 weeks (P < 0.05), and vomiting (P < 0.001). Pneumonia was detected on chest radiograph more frequently in children with severe malnutrition (P < 0.001). Sixty eight per cent of cases were successfully treated with dietary management and appropriate treatment of associated infections and 18 per cent of cases died. Mortality was highest in association with severe oral thrush, severe malnutrition, septicaemia, and ARI. Our results suggest that majority of cases of PD are associated with one or the other non-gastrointestinal infections particularly UTI and ARI which may be missed on clinical examination unless efforts are made to investigate these children. Early detection and appropriate management of these infections can considerably modify hospital course and outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-67
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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