Background: Diarrhea remains a major public health problem and characterization of etiology is needed to prioritize interventions. However, most data are from single-site studies of children. We tested samples from participants of any age from 11 geographically diverse hospitals in Bangladesh to describe pathogen-specific burdens of diarrhea.
Methods: We utilized two existing diarrhea surveillance systems: a Nationwide network at 10 sentinel hospitals and at the icddr,b hospital. We tested stools from enrolled participants and non-diarrheal controls for enteropathogens using quantitative PCR and calculated pathogen-specific attributable fractions (AFs) of diarrhea.
Results: We analyzed 5516 diarrheal patients and 735 controls. Overall, rotavirus had the highest attributable burden of diarrhea (Nationwide AF 17.7%, 95% confidence interval: 14.3, 20.9; icddr,b AF 39.9%; 38.0, 41.8), followed by adenovirus 40/41 (Nationwide AF 17.9%, CI: 13.9, 21.9; icddr,b AF 16.6%; CI: 14.4, 19.4) and Vibrio cholerae (Nationwide AF 10.2%, CI: 9.1, 11.3; icddr,b AF 13.3%, CI: 11.9, 15.1). Rotavirus was the leading pathogen in children under 5 years of age and was consistent across the sites (coefficient of variation = 56.3%). Adenovirus 40/41 was the second leading pathogen in both children and adults. V. cholerae was the leading pathogen in individuals above 5 years old but was more geographically variable (coefficient of variation = 71.5%). Other attributable pathogens included astrovirus, norovirus, Shigella, Salmonella, ETEC, sapovirus, and typical EPEC.
Conclusions: Rotavirus, adenovirus 40/41, and V. cholerae were the leading etiologies of infectious diarrhea requiring hospitalization in Bangladesh. Other pathogens were important in certain age groups or sites.
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