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Bardhan PK. Albert MJ. Alam NH. Faruque SM. Neogi PK. Mahalanabis D.
International Cenre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh Dhaka.
BACKGROUND: The etiology of persistent diarrhea in children is multifactorial. The objective of the current study was to ascertain the role of microorganisms in the etiology and pathogenesis of persistent diarrhea in a group of children in Bangladesh. METHODS: Enteric pathogens and total aerobic microflora were studied in the duodenal aspirates of 100 children with persistent diarrhea and compared with those in aspirates of 30 children with acute diarrhea, and those in aspirates of 15 healthy control children. The enteric pathogens in the stools of these children and in stools of an additional 38 patients with persistent diarrhea and 12 with acute diarrhea were also studied. RESULTS: Approximately two thirds of the patients with acute diarrhea and persistent diarrhea, and half of the control subjects had more than 10(5) organisms per milliliter of duodenal fluid. Significantly, more patients with persistent diarrhea had a greater variety of flora than did patients with acute diarrhea and control subjects. The predominant organisms in patients with acute diarrhea and in those with persistent diarrhea were Gram-negative rods, whereas those in control subjects were Gram-positive cocci. Significantly more acute diarrhea patients and persistent diarrhea patients had enteric pathogens isolated from stool than did control subjects. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli, as a whole, were present in significantly more persistent diarrhea patients than in acute diarrhea patients and control subjects. Among diarrheagenic E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli were significantly associated only with persistent diarrhea. Other organisms significantly associated with persistent diarrhea were Aeromonas spp. and Klebsiella spp. Some patients in the acute diarrhea and the persistent diarrhea groups had the same pathogens isolated from both the duodenal fluid and stool. CONCLUSIONS: In accordance with results of other studies, an association between enteroaggregative E. coli and persistent diarrhea was found in the present study. This suggests that therapy directed against enteroaggregative E. coli can be evaluated for management of some cases of persistent diarrhea.