Diarrheal diseases of infancy in Cali, Colombia: study design and summary report on isolated disease agents
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For public health reasons, it is important that the etiologic agents of early childhood diarrhea be isolated and identified, and that their routes of transmission be defined. This is especially true in tropical and subtropical developing countries, where childhood patterns of exposure to diarrheal disease agents usually differ from those in developed countries, and where diarrheal illness is a frequent harbinger of death among children under five years of age. This artical describes a study designed to identify diarrheal disease agents and transmission patterns in Cali, a large city of western Colombia's fertile Cauca River Valley. The study area, composed of five working-class districts with a total population of some 40,000, appeared to provide an environment fairly similar to those of many other «average» working-class communities in Latin America. Beginning in July 1962, a cohort of 296 children being born in these districts was studied, the period of investigation starting with the date of birth and continuing until each child's second birthday or its premature withdrawal from the study. Weekly home visits were made to establish defecation patterns, feeding practices, and anthropometry. The resulting data were then analyzed in terms of defecation frequencies, occurrence of liquid stools, and the presence of blood, mucus, or pus in the stools. Differences were noted in male and female defecation patterns and in the defecation frequencies of different age groups. Stool specimens for bacteriologic, virologic, and parasitologic examination were collected monthly on a regular basis and weekly when diarrhea occurred. Numerically, viruses were isolated and identified more often than other agents. The most commonly isolated parasite species and viral and bacterial serotypes were G. lamblia (from 222 subjects), echovirus 11 (from 166 subjects), and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli 026:B6 (from 138 subjects). Compared with the findings of several studies in other countries, isolations of shigellae were relatively rare (Au)
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