Case-control study of enteropathogens associated with childhood diarrhea in Dhaka, Bangladesh

J Clin Microbiol. 1999 Nov;37(11):3458-64. doi: 10.1128/JCM.37.11.3458-3464.1999.


The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, is a major center for research into diarrheal diseases. The center treats more than 100,000 patients a year. To obtain useful information representative of all patients, a surveillance system in which a 4% systematic sample of all patients is studied in detail, including etiological agents of diarrhea, was installed in October 1979. The first paper on etiology for the surveillance patients was published in 1982, which identified a potential enteric pathogen in 66% of patients. In subsequent years, several new agents of diarrhea have been identified. To assess the importance of a broader spectrum of diarrheal agents including the ones identified relatively recently, we studied 814 children with diarrhea. The children were up to 5 years of age and were part of the surveillance system. They were matched with an equal number of community controls without diarrhea. The study was conducted from February 1993 to June 1994. A potential enteric pathogen was isolated from 74.8% of diarrheal children and 43.9% of control children (P = 0.0001). Even though the first study was not a case-control study, it identified rotavirus, Campylobacter jejuni, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Shigella spp. , and Vibrio cholerae O1 as major pathogens. The present study identified these pathogens as being significantly associated with diarrhea. In addition, the study also identified six additional agents, including enteropathogenic E. coli, Aeromonas spp., V. cholerae O139, enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium difficile, and Cryptosporidium parvum, as being significantly associated with diarrhea. Plesiomonas shigelloides, Salmonella spp., diffusely adherent E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia were not significantly associated with diarrhea. Enteroinvasive E. coli, enterohemorrhagic E. coli, and Cyclospora cayetanensis were not detected in any of the children. The major burden of diseases due to most pathogens occurred in the first year of life. As in the previous study, seasonal patterns were seen for diarrhea associated with rotavirus, V. cholerae, and enterotoxigenic E. coli, and infections with multiple pathogens were common. With a few exceptions, these findings are in agreement with those from other developing countries. This knowledge of a broader spectrum of etiological agents of diarrhea in the surveillance patients will help us plan studies into various aspects of diarrheal diseases in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / microbiology*
  • Diarrhea / parasitology
  • Diarrhea / virology
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Rotavirus / isolation & purification
  • Shigella / isolation & purification
  • Vibrio cholerae / isolation & purification