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J Infect Dis. 2005 Apr 15;191(8):1245-52. Epub 2005 Mar 14.

Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis-associated diarrhea in children 0-2 years of age in rural Bangladesh.

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Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


The burden of enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF)-related diarrhea was determined in a birth cohort of 252 children in rural Bangladesh. Isolation rates of ETBF in stool and risk factors for acquisition of ETBF and disease were established. Of 382 B. fragilis-positive specimens, 14.4% of the strains found in them produced enterotoxin, as determined by a tissue-culture assay. The overall isolation rate of ETBF was 2.3% (40/1750) from diarrheal specimens and 0.3% (15/5679) from nondiarrheal specimens collected throughout the 2 years of the study (P < .001). ETBF was isolated from 20.3% (40/197) of the B. fragilis-positive diarrheal specimens and from 8.1% (15/185) of the B. fragilis-positive nondiarrheal specimens (P < .001) and was significantly associated with acute diarrheal disease in children > or = 1 year of age (P = .0001). The diarrheal illness was mild in nature. In conditional multivariate analyses that examined environmental and host risk factors, the presence of livestock in the household area was linked to the acquisition of ETBF (chickens, P < .05; cows, P = .06). ETBF was found to be a small but significant contributor to diarrheal disease in this rural community. Improved management of livestock may be useful for the prevention of ETBF infection.

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