Deaths due to dysentery, acute and persistent diarrhoea among Brazilian infants

Acta Paediatr Suppl. 1992 Sep:381:7-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1992.tb12364.x.


In a population-based study, all infant deaths occurring in a one-year period in the metropolitan areas of Porto Alegre and Pelotas, in southern Brazil, were studied. There were 227 infants who presented diarrhoea during the fatal illness, and in 75% of these diarrhoea was considered to be the underlying cause of death. Acute diarrhoea (< 14 days' duration) accounted for 28% of the deaths, persistent diarrhoea for 62% and dysentery for a further 10%. Approximately one-half of the children with persistent diarrhoea were admitted to a hospital in the first two weeks of the episode. Hospital-acquired infections were likely to have contributed to one- to two-thirds of deaths due to dysentery and persistent diarrhoea. A comparison with neighbourhood controls showed that breast milk provided substantial protection against deaths due to either acute or persistent diarrhoea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross Infection / complications
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / complications
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / mortality*
  • Dysentery / complications
  • Dysentery / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Urban Health