Observations on the Association of Enteric Viruses and Bacteria with Diarrhea

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  • Phoenix Field Station, Technology Branch, Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 4402 North Seventh Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85014


The etiology of acute diarrhea was studied at Phoenix, Arizona, by the examination of fecal specimens from 438 children hospitalized because of diarrhea and from 318 comparable persons without diarrhea. Laboratory examinations revealed the following percentage of specimens with pathogens from patients and control subjects, respectively: Shigella 23.5 and 0, Salmonella 3.7 and 2.2, EEC 30.6 and 6.9, adenovirus 2.5 and 0, Coxsackie virus 3.0 and 0.9, ECHO virus 11.9 and 4.4, and poliovirus 2.3 and 6.9. Poliovirus was probably of vaccine origin.

Shigella and EEC were associated, respectively, with diarrhea in about 15 and 37% of the infants under 1 year of age, who constituted about 78% of the cases. EEC was not recovered from persons over 2 years of age, but Shigella was relatively more prevalent among this group than among younger children.

Definitive data were not obtained on the etiologic significance of viruses. ECHO virus was isolated from patients at more than twice the rate as from control subjects.

Author Notes

Present address: Director, Division of Preventive Medical Services, Arizona State Health Department, 1624 West Adams, Phoenix, Arizona 85007.

Chief of Pediatrics, Maricopa County General Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona.