Effect of recent diarrhoeal episodes on risk of pneumonia in children

March 12, 2013 · 0 comments

Int J Epidemiol. 2013 Feb 1.

Effect of recent diarrhoeal episodes on risk of pneumonia in children under the age of 5 years in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ashraf S, Huque MH, Kenah E, Agboatwalla M, Luby SP.

Water Sanitation and Hygiene Research Group, Centre for Communicable Diseases, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh Department of Biostatistics, University of Florida, Gainesville, GA, USA Health Oriented Preventive Education, Karachi, Pakistan and Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.


BACKGROUND: We assessed the association between the duration of diarrhoea and the risk ofpneumonia incidence among children <5 years of age.

METHODS: We analysed data from a cluster randomized controlled trial in Karachi, Pakistan, which assessed the effect of promoting hand washing with soap (antibacterial and plain) on child health. Field workers visited households with children <5 years of age weekly and asked primary caregivers if their child had diarrhoea, cough or difficulty breathing in the preceding week. We used the WHO clinical case definitions for diarrhoea and pneumonia.We used adjusted time-to-event analyses with cumulative diarrhoea prevalence over the previous 2 and 4 weeks as exposure and pneumonia as outcome. We calculated the attributable risk of pneumonia due to recent diarrhoea across the intervention groups.

RESULTS: 873 households with children <5 years were visited. Children had an increased risk of pneumonia for every additional day of diarrhoea in the 2 weeks (1.06, 95% CI: 1.03-1.09) and 4 weeks (1.04, 95% CI: 1.03-1.06) prior to the week of pneumonia onset. The attributable risk of pneumonia cases due to recent exposure to diarrhoea was 6%. A lower associated pneumonia risk following diarrhoea was found in the control group: (3%) compared with soap groups (6% in antibacterial soap, 9% in plain soap).

CONCLUSION: Children <5 years of age are at an increased risk of pneumonia following recent diarrhoeal illness. Public health programmes that prevent diarrhoea may also reduce the burden of respiratory illnesses.

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