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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

CACERES, Diana Carolina; ESTRADA, Eduardo; DEANTONIO, Rodrigo  and  PELAEZ, Dioselina. Acute diarrheal disease: a public health challenge in Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.17, n.1, pp. 6-14. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892005000100002.

OBJECTIVES: To establish the relationship between rotavirus infection and dehydration from diarrhea in Colombian children under 5 years of age, and to identify risk factors for diarrhea with dehydration. METHODS: A case-control study was performed in an urban hospital in Bogotá, Colombia, between April 2000 and February 2001. The sample was composed of 290 children of both sexes under 5 years of age; of these children, 145 of them were hospitalized for acute diarrheal disease (ADD) with dehydration (cases), and 145 had a diagnosis of ADD but no signs of dehydration (controls). All children underwent a complete physical examination. Mothers responded to a questionnaire containing items on demographic and socioeconomic variables, as well as on knowledge, attitudes, and practices with regard to hygiene, and on access to health services. RESULTS: An association was detected between diarrhea with dehydration and the presence of rotavirus in fecal samples (odds ratio [OR] = 3.46; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.71 to 7.00), birth weight < 2 600 g (OR = 7.79; 95% CI: 3.47 to 18.01), and breastfeeding for less than 3 months (OR = 3.17; 95% CI: 1.66 to 6.13). The risk of having dehydration was associated with low socioeconomic status, poor hygienic practices among the child's family members, and mother's low educational level. CONCLUSIONS: The ineffectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention activities in a population with easy access to health services set the stage for the appearance of cases of diarrhea with dehydration. Rotavirus infection plays an important role in the severity of ADD among Colombian children.

Keywords : Diarrhea, infantile; dehydration; risk factors; rotavirus; Colombia.

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