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Aetiology of Diarrhoea in Children Under Five in Zambia Detected Using Luminex xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel

Background: We aimed to document viral, bacterial, and protozoan enteric pathogens responsible of causing moderate-to-severe diarrhoea among children under five presenting at public health facilities in Zambia following the introduction of rotavirus vaccination.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which clinical data and stool samples were collected between July 2012 and October 2013 from children under five years presenting to outpatient clinics in Lusaka province with moderate-tosevere diarrhoea. The study was conducted during the early months post rotavirus vaccine introduction in Zambia. We used Luminex x-TAG® gastrointestinal pathogen panel to simultaneously detect enteric viruses, bacteria and protozoa from the stool samples. We applied the population attributable fraction to estimate pathogen-specific burden of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea.

Results: We analysed 1,135 unique stool samples with clinical data, of which 56% had received one or full dose rotavirus vaccination. The median age was 14 months (IQR=8, 22). The prevalence of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea was estimated as 18.9% (95%CI=16.7, 21.2). The most attributable cases of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea were due to rotavirus {attributable fraction=24.5%; 95%CI=(5.4, 39.7)} followed by Shigella spp. {attributable fraction=6.7%; 95%CI=(0.1, 15.5)}. The top 5 enteric pathogens detected among children were rotavirus (67.6%), Adenovirus (41.5%), ETEC (40.7%), Salmonella (38.4%) and Giardia (37.0%).

Conclusion: We found that about one-third of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea among children were attributable to rotavirus and shigella spp.


Caroline Cleopatra Chisenga, Samuel Bosomprah*, Natasha Makabilo Laban, Katayi Mwila- Kazimbaya, John Mwaba, Michelo Simuyandi and Roma Chilengi

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