Diarrhoea in elderly people: Aetiology, and clinical characteristics

Abu S.G. Faruque, Mohammed A. Malek, Ashraful I. Khan, Sayeeda Huq, Mohammed A. Salam, David A. Sack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We examined the characteristics of elderly people attending the Dhaka Hospital of ICDDR,B. The hospital has a diarrhoeal disease surveillance system that enrols a 2% systematic sample of all patients visiting the hospital. We reviewed data of all patients enrolled into the surveillance system (n = 13,782) over the period 1996-2001 to identify patients aged 60 y and above for inclusion into the current study (4% of all surveillance patients; n = 478). V. cholerae O1 was the most common enteric pathogen isolated from faecal culture of the patients (20%), followed by ETEC (13%), Shigella (11%), V. cholerae O139 (10%), Campylobacter jejuni (5%), Salmonella (3%), EPEC (2%), rotavirus (4%), and E. histolytica (2%). The isolation rate of V. cholerae O139 and Shigella was higher among the elderly compared to adults (15-59 y of age, 10% vs 6%, and 11% vs 7% respectively; p < 0.05 for both comparisons). Compared to 15-59-y-olds, a significantly higher proportion of the elderly had visible blood in stools (8% vs 5%), required short-stay ward admission (86% vs 82%) or referral (1% vs < 1%) to a health facility. Early initiation of oral or i.v. rehydration therapy, prompt referral, and immediate clinical diagnosis for assessment of the need for antibiotic therapy might be beneficial for the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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