Background: Diarrhea causes enormous morbidity and mortality in developing countries, yet the relative importance of multiple potential enteropathogens has been difficult to ascertain.
Methods: We performed a longitudinal cohort study from birth to 1 year of age in 147 infants in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Using multiplex polymerase chain reaction, we analyzed 420 episodes of diarrhea and 1385 monthly surveillance stool specimens for 32 enteropathogen gene targets. For each infant we examined enteropathogen quantities over time to ascribe each positive target as a probable or less-likely contributor to diarrhea.
Results: Multiple enteropathogens were detected by the first month of life. Diarrhea was associated with a state of overall pathogen excess (mean number of enteropathogen gene targets (± SE), 5.6 ± 0.1 vs 4.3 ± 0.1 in surveillance stool specimens; P < .05). After a longitudinal, quantitative approach was applied to filter out less-likely contributors, each diarrheal episode still had an average of 3.3 probable or dominant targets. Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, enteropathogenic E. coli, rotavirus, and Entamoeba histolytica were the most frequent probable contributors to diarrhea. Rotavirus was enriched in moderate to severe diarrheal episodes.
Conclusions: In this community-based study diarrhea seemed to be a multipathogen event and a state of enteropathogen excess above a high carriage baseline.
Keywords: Campylobacter; Diarrhea; PCR; enteroaggregative e.coli; rotavirus.