Enteric pathogens and associated risk factors among under-five children with and without diarrhea in Wegera District, Northwestern Ethiopia
Introduction: Childhood diarrhea is highly prevalent in slums in developing countries, but it remains understudied. The objectives of this study were to explore the prevalence of Giardia, rotavirus and bacterial enteropathogens among diarrheic and non-diarrheic children and investigate socio-environmental determinants of diarrhea in two Ethiopian towns. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from June to October 2016. Prevalence of childhood diarrhea was established using information gathered during interviews with mothers/guardians. Saline wet mounts of fresh stool samples were used to test for the presence of Giardia. Stool samples were cultured on MacConkey agar and suspected colonies were characterized using biochemical tests. Susceptibility testing was done by the disk diffusion method. ELISA was used to screen for rotavirus. Results: A total of 225 children were included in this study. Four enteropathogens (Giardia, rotavirus, Shigella and Salmonella) were identified from 31% (35/112) diarrheic and 12% (14/113) from non-diarrheic children (p < 0.001). The prevalence of rotavirus infection was 18.0% among diarrheic children and 3.3% among non-diarrheic children unvaccinated against rotavirus (p < 0.01). The prevalence of Giardia was 21.0% among diarrheic and 8.0% among non-diarrheic children (p < 0.01). Diarrheic children had significantly higher rates of bloody stool (p < 0.02), vomiting, fever and breastfeeding for children beyond 23 months of age (p < 0.001). Giardia and rotavirus were identified in more diarrheic than nondiarrheic children. Conclusion: The high prevalence of Giardia and rotavirus in the study area indicates the need for coordinated healthcare activities in the two communities. Vaccination against rotavirus infections and educational interventions are recommended.