Colonization of the oropharynx with Gram-negative bacilli in children with severe protein-calorie malnutrition

R. H. Gilman, K. H. Brown, J. B. Gilman, A. Gaffar, S. M. Alamgir, A. K. Kibriya, R. B. Sack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Oral pharyngeal isolation of Gram-negative bacteria was compared in four groups of Bengali children: acutely ill, severely malnourished outpatients swabbed on hospital admission; ill but less severely malnourished outpatients from the same area as the malnourished children; orphans also less severely malnourished but not acutely ill; and well controls drawn from a privileged socioeconomic group. The expected weight for height percentage (National Center Health Statistics/Center for Disease Control median) of the four groups was respectively 67, 91, 97, and 97%. Isolation of Gram-negative bacteria from 74 of 87 (85%) severely malnourished children was significantly greater (p<0.01) compared to 43 of 113 (38%) outpatients, to 20 of 93 (22%) orphans, and to five of 51 (10%) controls. A total of 71 malnourished children under 5 yr of age (90%) had higher rates of Gram-negative throat colonization than did 16 older children (63%) (p<0.01). Thus there was an increased rate of Gram-negative colonization in severely malnourished children especially among the younger age group. In the subset of ill children, Gram-negative pharyngeal colonization was significantly associated inversely with nutritional indices and age. The high rate of such carriage may be partly responsible for the increased susceptibility of Gram-negative infection demonstrated in these children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-289
Number of pages6
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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