A population-based estimate of the substantial burden of diarrhoeal disease in the United States; FoodNet, 1996-2003

Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Feb;135(2):293-301. doi: 10.1017/S0950268806006765.


From 1996 to 2003, four 12-month population-based surveys were performed in FoodNet sites to determine the burden of diarrhoeal disease in the population. Acute diarrhoeal illness (ADI) was defined as > or =3 loose stools in 24 hours with impairment of daily activities or duration of diarrhoea >1 day. A total of 52840 interviews were completed. The overall weighted prevalence of ADI in the previous month was 5.1% (95% CI+/-0.3%), corresponding to 0.6 episodes of ADI per person per year. The average monthly prevalence of ADI was similar in each of the four survey cycles (range 4.5-5.2%). Rates of ADI were highest in those age <5 years. Of those with ADI, 33.8% (95% CI+/-2.7%) reported vomiting, 19.5% (95% CI+/-2.1%) visited a medical provider, and 7.8% (95% CI+/-1.4%) took antibiotics. Rates of ADI were remarkably consistent over time, and demonstrate the substantial burden placed on the health-care system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vomiting / epidemiology