Diarrheal Disease in Peru after the Introduction of Cholera

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  • Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute Detachment, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Lima, Peru

Surveillance was conducted one day each week from December 1992 through May 1993 to determine the clinical features and etiology of diarrhea among a population in a suburban community of Lima, Peru. Patients who had had three or more loose stools during the previous 24 hr were enrolled at a clinic located in the community or at a nearby regional hospital. A total of 143 cases of diarrhea were detected for an overall rate of 7.1 cases per 1,000 population. The enteropathogens isolated were Vibrio cholerae 01 (31%), enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (22%), and Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and Aeromonas species (10%). Specimens from the remaining cases were negative for enteropathogens. All isolates of V. cholerae were susceptible to tetracycline, doxycycline, nalidixic acid, norfloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, gentamicin, chloramphenicol, and cephalothin. Cases of diarrhea associated with V. cholerae were more common among adults, and more likely to experience severe dehydration and require hospitalization than the non-cholera cases. Data indicated that among the cases diagnosed, V. cholerae and enterotoxigenic E. coli were the more common causes of diarrhea in a suburban community of Lima during the summer season.