Possible Hematological Changes Associated with Acute Gastroenteritis among Kindergarten Children in Gaza
Background: Gastroenteritis is considered one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children especially in developing countries. It is a major childhood problem in Gaza and one of the most common etiologic agents of iron deficiency anemia (IDA).
Aim: This study was conducted to investigate possible changes in blood parameters that are associated with gastroenteritis infection among kindergarten children in Gaza.
Subjects and Methods: A cross‑sectional case–control study was performed including kindergarten children suffering from gastroenteritis and matched healthy control group. Types of etiological agents were identified using standard microbiological and serological procedures. Blood samples were collected for estimation of complete blood count and for determination of serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), and transferrin saturation. Independent sample t‑test was used for comparisons and performed using SPSS software version 17(Chicago Illinois USA).
Results: The prevalence of enteric pathogens among cases (88.5% [85/96]) was significantly higher than in asymptomatic controls (11.1% [6/54]). The most common enteric pathogens isolated were Entamoeba histolytica (28% [42/91]) and Giardia lamblia (26.7% [40/91]). Blood tests revealed that 21.8% (21/96) of cases and 14.8% (8/54) of controls had IDA, which were not significantly different. Meanwhile, a significant difference was found between the TIBC and hemoglobin in cases compared to controls. Conclusion: This study indicates that gastroenteritis infection could be considered as a common health problem in kindergarten children in Gaza, and it is possibly associated with changes in hemoglobin concentration and TIBC.
Keywords: Acute gastroenteritis, Gaza, hematological changes, Iron deficiency, Kindergarten