The Relative Importance of Rotavirus and Other Pathogens in the Etiology of Gastroenteritis in Trinidadian Children

B. P. HullPan American Health Organization, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 164, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, Canada

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L. SpencePan American Health Organization, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 164, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, Canada

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D. BassettPan American Health Organization, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 164, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, Canada

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W. H. SwanstonPan American Health Organization, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 164, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, Canada

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E. S. TikasinghPan American Health Organization, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Trinidad Public Health Laboratory, Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 164, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, Canada

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Over a 2-year period, 300 infants less than 3 years old with gastroenteritis admitted to hospitals in Trinidad were investigated for the presence of certain microorganisms in the feces, along with an equal number of age- and sex-matched controls. Rotavirus was detected in 23% of cases and 1% of controls; Salmonella in 7% of cases and 1% of controls; Shigella in 4% of cases and in no controls and two serotypes of enteropathogenic E. coli in 7% of cases and in 2% of controls. Campylobacter fetus subspecies jejuni was cultured from 7 out of 60 cases and from 1 of 60 controls. Enterotoxigenic E. coli, most strains of enteropathogenic E. coli, cytopathic enteroviruses and adenoviruses and fecal parasites were not significantly associated with diarrhea. Rotaviruses were detected throughout the year but were more prevalent in the dry than in the rainy season. They were found less often in children younger than 6 months than in those aged 6 to 35 months and were present in 6 of the 20 children who died.

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