Volume 101, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platforms have enhanced understanding of intestinal pathogens in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, few such studies have been performed in Latin America, where poverty, poor sanitation, and undernutrition persist. Multiplex PCR (BioFire, Salt Lake City, UT) was used to identify viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens in stool collected on day 1 and 31 from children aged 6 to 35 months with acute, non-bloody diarrhea in two locations (rural and urban) in Guatemala. We analyzed correlation between pathogens and clinical, demographic, and socioeconomic variables; described patterns of pathogen acquisition, persistence, and clearance over the 30-day period; and calculated population attributable fractions (PAFs) for diarrheal causation for individual pathogens. We analyzed 316 subjects (144 urban; 172 rural) enrolled between March 2015 and January 2016. Rural subjects had significantly more malnutrition, animal exposure, and unimproved water/sanitation infrastructure. The majority of subjects had multiple pathogens/sample (4.8 rural and 2.7 urban). Few meaningful correlates were identified between individual pathogens and clinical, demographic, or environmental variables. pathotypes, , and had high rates of persistence between initial and 30-day follow-up. Statistically significant adjusted PAFs were identified for (14.9%, 95% CI: 3.2–23.1), norovirus (10.2%, 95% CI: 0.4–17.1), sapovirus (7.6%, 95% CI: 2.3–10.9), and adenovirus 40/41 (5.6%, 95% CI: 0.3–8.7). These observations further characterize the diversity and complexity of enteric pathogens in children in LMICs. Patterns of chronic symptomatic and asymptomatic infection among Latin American children are similar to those observed in other LMIC regions. Findings have direct implications for practitioners treating individuals with acute infectious diarrhea and should inform regional public health strategies.


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Supplemental table

  • Received : 04 Dec 2018
  • Accepted : 09 Jun 2019
  • Published online : 05 Aug 2019
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