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BMJ. Feb 7, 1998; 316(7129): 422–426.
PMCID: PMC2665602

Single dose vitamin A treatment in acute shigellosis in Bangladesh children: randomised double blind controlled trial.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of a single large oral dose of vitamin A in treating acute shigellosis in children in Bangladesh. DESIGN: Randomised double blind controlled clinical trial. SETTING: Dhaka Hospital, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh. SUBJECTS: 83 children aged 1-7 years with bacteriologically proved shigellosis but no clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency; 42 were randomised to treatment with vitamin A and 41 formed a control group. INTERVENTION: Children were given a single oral dose of 200,000 IU of vitamin A plus 25 IU vitamin E or a control preparation of 25 IU vitamin E. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Clinical cure on study day 5 and bacteriological cure. RESULTS: Baseline characteristics of the subjects in the two treatment groups were similar. Significantly more children in the vitamin A group than in the control group achieved clinical cure (19/42 (45%) v 8/14 (20%); chi 2 = 5.14, 1 df, P = 0.02; risk ratio = 0.68 (95% confidence interval; 0.50 to 0.93)). When cure was determined bacteriologically, the groups had similar rates (16/42 (38%) v 16/41 (39%); chi 2 = 0.02, 1 df, P = 0.89; risk ratio = 0.98 (0.70 to 1.39)). CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin A reduces the severity of acute shigellosis in children living in areas where vitamin A deficiency is a major public health problem.

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