Volume 98, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Although acute diarrheal deaths have declined globally among children < 5 years, it may still contribute to childhood mortality as an underlying or contributing cause. The aim of this project was to estimate the incidence of acute diarrhea-associated deaths, regardless of primary cause, among children < 5 years in Bangladesh during 2010–12. We conducted a survey in 20 unions (administrative units) within the catchment areas of 10 tertiary hospitals in Bangladesh. Through social networks, our field team identified households where children < 5 years were reported to have died during 2010–12. Trained data collectors interviewed caregivers of the deceased children and recorded illness symptoms, health care seeking, and other information using an abbreviated international verbal autopsy questionnaire. We classified the deceased based upon the presence of diarrhea before death. We identified 880 deaths, of which 36 (4%) died after the development of acute diarrhea, 17 (2%) had diarrhea-only in the illness preceding death, and 19 (53%) had cough or difficulty breathing in addition to diarrhea. The estimated annual incidence of all-cause mortality in the unions < 13.6 km of the tertiary hospitals was 26 (95% confidence interval [CI] 16–37) per 1,000 live births compared with the mortality rate of 37 (95% CI 26–49) per 1,000 live births in the unions located ≥ 13.6 km. Diarrhea contributes to childhood death at a higher proportion than when considering it only as the sole underlying cause of death. These data support the use of interventions aimed at preventing acute diarrhea, especially available vaccinations for common etiologies, such as rotavirus.


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  • Received : 16 May 2017
  • Accepted : 18 Aug 2017

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