Diarrheal Morbidity and Mortality in Children in the Central African Republic

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  • * Institut Pasteur de Bangui, B.P. 923, Bangui, Central African Republic
  • Division of Bacterial Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
  • Organization de Coordination pour la Lutte Contre les Endemies en Afrique Centrale, Yaounde, Cameroon
  • § Faculté de Sciences et de la Santé de Bangui, Bangui, Central African Republic
  • Service des Grandes Endemies, Bangui, Central African Republic

Diarrheal morbidity and mortality in children <5 years old were studied in Bangui, Central African Republic, by a cluster survey. We found a high prevalence of diarrheal disease with an estimated annual incidence of 7 episodes of diarrhea per child per year. The estimated annual mortality rate for children <5 years old was 28.6 per 1,000 and 85.8 per 1,000 for infants; 51.6% of deaths were reported to be associated with diarrhea. During the survey, stool specimens were collected from 133 children with current diarrhea and 117 control children to study the etiologic agents of diarrheal disease in the community. An enteric pathogen was identified in 58% of diarrheal children's stools and 48% of stools of well children. A statistically significant association between diarrhea and rotavirus was found, with it being isolated from 8 of 33 (24%) of stools of infants with diarrhea compared to 0 of 25 (0%) of control infants. Isolation rates for Campylobacter jejuni, Entamoeba histolytica, pathogenic Escherichia coli, and other bacterial enteropathogens did not differ significantly between children with diarrhea and control children.