Pathogens associated with linear growth faltering in children with diarrhea and impact of antibiotic treatment: The global enteric multicenter study
Paediatrics and Child Health
Background: The association between childhood diarrheal disease and linear growth faltering in developing countries is well-described. However, the impact attributed to specific pathogens has not been elucidated, nor has the impact of recommended antibiotic treatment.
Methods: The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) enrolled children seeking healthcare with moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) at seven sites in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. At enrollment, we collected stool samples to identify enteropathogens. Length/height was measured at enrollment and follow-up, ~60 days later, to calculate change in length/height for age Z scores (ΔHAZ). The association of pathogens with ΔHAZ was tested by linear mixed effects regression models.
Results: Among 8,077 MSD cases analyzed, the proportion with stunting (HAZ<-1) increased from 59% at enrollment to 65% at follow-up (p<.0001). Pathogens significantly associated with linear growth decline were Cryptosporidium (p<0.001), typical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (p=0.013), and untreated Shigella (p=0.009) among infants (0-11 months), and enterotoxigenic E. coli encoding heat stable toxin (p<0.001) and Cryptosporidium (p=0.03) among toddlers (12-23 months). Shigella-infected toddlers given antibiotics had improved linear growth (p=0.02).
Conclusion: Linear growth faltering among children aged 0-23 months with MSD is associated with specific pathogens and can be mitigated with targeted treatment strategies, as demonstrated for Shigella.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Blackwelder, W. C.,
Farag, T. H.,
(2021). Pathogens associated with linear growth faltering in children with diarrhea and impact of antibiotic treatment: The global enteric multicenter study. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiab434.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_women_childhealth_paediatr/1078