BACKGROUND: The magnitude of pediatric enteric pathogen exposures in low-income settings necessitates substantive water and sanitation interventions, including animal feces management. We assessed associations between pediatric enteric pathogen detection and survey-based water, sanitation, and animal characteristics within the Vaccine Impact on Diarrhea in Africa case-control study.
METHODS: In The Gambia, Kenya, and Mali, we assessed enteric pathogens in stool of children aged <5 years with moderate-to-severe diarrhea and their matched controls (diarrhea-free in prior 7 days) via the TaqMan Array Card and surveyed caregivers about household drinking water and sanitation conditions and animals living in the compound. Risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using modified Poisson regression models, stratified for cases and controls and adjusted for age, sex, site, and demographics.
RESULTS: Bacterial (cases, 93%; controls, 72%), viral (63%, 56%), and protozoal (50%, 38%) pathogens were commonly detected (cycle threshold <35) in the 4840 cases and 6213 controls. In cases, unimproved sanitation (RR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.12-2.17), as well as cows (RR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.16-2.24) and sheep (RR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.11-1.96) living in the compound, were associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli. In controls, fowl (RR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.15-1.47) were associated with Campylobacter spp. In controls, surface water sources were associated with Cryptosporidium spp., Shigella spp., heat-stable toxin-producing enterotoxigenic E. coli, and Giardia spp.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings underscore the importance of enteric pathogen exposure risks from animals alongside more broadly recognized water and sanitation risk factors in children.
- Escherichia coli
- Case-Control Studies