A study of the prevalence of diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli in children from Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria

Pan Afr Med J. 2014 Feb 28:17:146. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2014.17.146.3369. eCollection 2014.


Introduction: Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) are major causes of diarrhoea in Nigeria. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of diarrhoea caused by DEC within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria.

Methods: A total of 730 rectal swabs obtained from 201 children with diarrhoea and 529 healthy controls aged 0-24 months were cultured for the isolation of Escherichia coli. All E. coli isolates were investigated by PCR to determine their pathotype.

Results: A total of 61 DEC strains were recovered at a rate of 18.4% and 2.6% from children with diarrhoea and healthy controls respectively. The DEC strains recovered were Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (34.4%), Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (31.1%), Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli(18.0%), typical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (15.0%) and Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (1.6%). Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli andEnteroinvasive Escherichia coli were recovered only from children suffering from diarrhoea and the overall prevalence of DEC strains was significantly higher among the children with diarrhoea (P < 0.0001). The number of DEC strains obtained during the dry season was significantly higher (P = 0.012) than the number obtained in the rainy season.

Conclusion: Diarrhoea caused by E. coli in the Nigerian children studied is associated with several diarrhoeagenic pathotypes and a significant proportion of the healthy children were found to harbour EAEC and ETEC strains. These asymptomatic carriers may be regarded as potential transmitters of infection to vulnerable children in the study area.

Keywords: Prevalence; children; diarrhoea; diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli; healthy.

MeSH terms

  • Diarrhea, Infantile / epidemiology*
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Prevalence