Observation on Etiology of Diarrheal Diseases in Arizona

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  • Communicable Disease Center, Bureau of State Services, Public Health Service, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Phoenix, Arizona


A total of 630 persons with symptoms of acute diarrhea was studied to evaluate the association between recognized enteric pathogens and diarrhea. Approximately 67% of persons for whom treatment was sought were less than 1 year of age. Recognized bacterial pathogens were isolated by a single examination from 57% of the cases. Shigella were recovered from 26%, enteropathogenic Esch. coli from 31%, and Salmonella from 7%. About 90% of all enteropathogenic Esch. coli recovered were from infants less than 1 year old; about 40% of the Shigella isolations were from this group. The cases from which etiologic agents were not recovered showed no characteristic distribution with respect to age of patients or month of occurrence.

Results differ from earlier studies in the southwest in that the rate of association of Shigella with acute diarrhea was lower and relatively few persons other than infants were found with acute enteric symptoms.