Etiologic agents in acute vs persistent diarrhea in children under three years of age in peri‐urban Lima, Perú

Claudio F. Lanata, Robert E. Black, Dora Maúrtua, Ana Gil, Ana Gabilondo, Augusto Yi, Elba Miranda, Robert H. Gilman, Raul León‐Barúa, R. Bradley Sack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


In a longitudinal study of acute and persistent diarrhea in 677 children less than three years old in a peri‐urban community of Lima, Perú, during 27 months of surveillance, stools were cultured at the beginning of each diarrheal episode and on each subsequent week of illness. Analyzing stool cultures only from children who had not received antibiotic treatment in the 48 h prior to the culture, no association was found between any enteropathogen and persistent diarrhea. We did not find any increase in mixed infections in persistent diarrhea episodes as compared with acute diarrhea, controlling for age, season and anthropometric status. The isolation rate for any given enteropathogen was similar during the first, second, third or later week of illness, but when the presence of a specific enteropathogen was sought in sequential stools within a single episode, no evidence of persistent infection was found. This study shows that in developing countries with a high incidence of diarrheal diseases frequent re‐infections with enteropathogens prevalent in the population are one reason for prolonged illnesses. Host factors that increase susceptibility to infection or decrease recovery from illness may also play a role. Further studies of these factors, such as micronutrient deficiencies, are needed to identify a public health intervention to control persistent diarrhea, a condition associated with mortality in many developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalActa Pædiatrica
StatePublished - Sep 1992


  • Diarrhea
  • enteropathogens
  • epidemiology
  • persistent (chronic
  • prolonged)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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