News article

Bacterial pathogens cause diarrhoea in children <5 years of age

Posted:  Thursday, July 07, 2016

Salmonella spp. one of the principal causes of diarrhoea in children <5 years of age

Diarrhoea is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children below 5 years of age, and is globally accountable for more than 800,000 deaths per year. Generally, rotavirus is recognised as the primary cause for diarrhoea; however, the causative agents may vary throughout the world.

In a hospital-based prospective study published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, the characteristics of bacterial pathogens associated with acute diarrhoea in children below 5 years of age were analysed. Stool samples were collected from 508 children with acute diarrhoea, aged less than 5 years, prior to treatment with any prescribed antibiotics. Pathogens were isolated and identified by culturing, serology, or polymerase chain reaction (PCR). They were also tested for antibiotic resistance.

According to the findings of the study, pathogens were identified in 20.1 % of the 508 samples. Salmonella spp. was the most commonly detected pathogen, followed by diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (4.7 %); Campylobacter jejuni (3.0 %); and Aeromonas spp. (2.0 %).

According to the antimicrobial resistance test, more than 60% of the Salmonella spp. were found to be resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline, while the resistance rate to cephalosporins and quinolones was less than 30%. Resistance to tetracycline, cefotaxime, and ampicillin was observed in more than 50% of diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli strains, and ciprofloxacin resistance was noted in about 60% of C. jejuni strains. TEM-1 and CTX-M-14 genetic determinants, and gyrA mutations were identified as the major mechanisms associated with high levels of quinolone and cephalosporin resistance, in Salmonella isolates.

The study findings indicate that tetracycline and ampicillin were not suitable as first-line therapeutic drugs against Salmonella spp. Resistance to high levels of cephalosporin and quinolone was associated with certain genetic determinants.

News source - Tian L, Zhu X, Chen Z, Liu W, Li S, Yu W, Zhang W, Xiang X, Sun Z. Characteristics of bacterial pathogens associated with acute diarrhoea in children under 5 years of age: a hospital-based cross-sectional study. BMC infectious diseases. 2016 Jun 7; 16(1):1.