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J Infect. 1986 Jul;13(1):73-89.

Aetiology and epidemiology of acute gastro-enteritis in Swedish children.


In a prospective 1-year study, 144 children attending or admitted to hospital and 272 children outside hospital with acute gastro-enteritis and 200 controls were investigated by a broad panel of diagnostic methods for enteropathogenic agents in the faeces and for related antibody responses. Enteropathogens were identified in 77% of the inpatients, 63% of the outpatients and 8% of the controls. Rotavirus and Yersinia enterocolitica were detected significantly more often among inpatients. Altogether, viral, bacterial and parasitic agents were found in 58%, 14% and 1% of diarrhoeal patients, respectively. The isolation of more than one pathogenic agent was uncommon (6.5%). Rotavirus (45%) and enteric adenoviruses 40 and 41 (7.9%) predominated among the viruses, while Campylobacter jejuni (4.8%) was most common among the bacteria. Clostridium difficile and/or its cytotoxin, which were found in 14% of the children with gastroenteritis and in 15% of the controls, were significantly associated with antibiotic therapy but not with gastro-intestinal illness. Diarrhoeal infections of unknown aetiology exhibited a seasonal peak in the autumn. The duration of excretion of enteropathogens was investigated. Rotavirus particles were detectable by solid-phase immune electron microscopy for 14-25 days after the diarrhoea had ceased. Transmission of rotavirus and bacterial pathogens within families was studied also.

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