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Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Sep 1;148(5):497-506.

Effects of Cryptosporidium parvum infection in Peruvian children: growth faltering and subsequent catch-up growth.

Author information

1
Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Abstract

The authors conducted a 2-year (1989-1991) community-based longitudinal study in a shantytown in Lima, Peru, to examine the effect of Cryptosporidium parvum infection on child growth during the year following the onset of infection. A cohort of children, aged 0-3 months at recruitment, was followed monthly for anthropometrics, weekly for stool samples, and daily for diarrheal status. Data from 185 children in the cohort permitted a comparison of growth in C. parvum-infected and noninfected children. The analyses fitted smooth, flexible curves with a linear random-effects model to estimate growth differences between C. parvum-infected and noninfected children. Children infected with C. parvum experienced growth faltering, both in weight and in height, for several months after the onset of infection, followed by a period of catch-up growth. Younger children took longer to catch up in weight than did older children. Catch-up growth, however, did not occur in children infected between ages 0 and 5 months. These children did not catch up in height, and one year after infection they exhibited an average deficit of 0.95 cm (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38-1.53) relative to noninfected children of similar age. Stunted children who became infected also did not catch up in either weight or height, and one year after infection they exhibited a height deficit of 1.05 cm (95% CI 0.46-1.66) relative to noninfected, stunted children of similar age. These results indicate that Cryptosporidium parvum has a lasting adverse effect on linear (height) growth, especially when acquired during infancy and when children are stunted before they become infected.

PIP:

A 2-year (1989-91) community-based study conducted in a shantytown in Lima, Peru, used regression splines to assess the effect of Cryptosporidium parvum infection on child growth during the year following the onset of infection. The 185 children 0-3 months of age at enrollment who comprised the study cohort underwent daily monitoring of diarrheal status, weekly stool analysis, and monthly anthropometric measurements. 88 children (48%) became infected with C. parvum during the study period. A linear random effects model was used to model differences in temporal growth patterns between C. parvum-infected and noninfected children. Children infected with C. parvum demonstrated growth faltering, both in weight and height, for several months after the onset of infection, followed by a period of catch-up growth. Younger age at infection intensified the effect of C. parvum infection on growth. In children infected between 0 and 5 months of age, catch-up weight gain was complete 6 months later but, 12 months after infection, these children exhibited an average height deficit of 0.95 cm relative to uninfected children the same age. Stunting also increased the magnitude and duration of the effect of C. parvum infection on growth. 12 months after infection onset, stunted children demonstrated a 1.05 cm height deficit relative to their noninfected, nonstunted age counterparts. These findings indicate that cryptosporidiosis has an adverse effect on child growth, especially when infection is acquired during infancy. C. parvum-related intestinal damage and malabsorption are presumed to be the mechanisms associated with growth retardation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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