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Enteric pathogen co-infections in the paediatric population from rural communities in the Vhembe District, South Africa

S E Ledwaba, J P Kabue, T G Barnard, A N Traore, N Potgieter

Abstract


Background. Enteric pathogens co-infections are a serious health risk in children under the age of 5 years. 

Objective. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of diarrhoea-causing pathogens in children suffering from diarrhoea in rural communities of the Vhembe District. 

Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted from July 2014 to June 2015. Diarrhoeal stool specimens (N=237) were collected from children attending primary healthcare facilities in rural communities of the Vhembe District. Stools were screened for enteric viral adenovirus 40/41, rotavirus and norovirus pathogens by means of enzyme immuno-assay (EIA) and enteric bacterial Escherichia coli spp. (diarrhoeagenic pathotypes), Shigella spp., Salmonella spp. and Vibrio spp. pathogens by means of multiplex polymerase chain reaction. 

Results. A total of 59.1% (140/237) were positive for at least one or more enteric pathogens. Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) (27.9%), enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) (26.8%) and atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) (17.9%) were frequently detected in children less than 2 years of age. Bacterial-bacteria co-infections were detected in 24.5% (n=58) and bacterial-viral co-infections in 14.3% (n=34) of the stool specimens. 

Conclusion. The findings indicated that enteric pathogen co-infections are major causes of diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age in the Vhembe District.


Authors' affiliations

S E Ledwaba, Department of Microbiology, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa

J P Kabue, Department of Microbiology, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa

T G Barnard, Water and Health Research Unit, University of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa

A N Traore, Department of Microbiology, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa

N Potgieter, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2018;12(4):170-174. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2018.v12i4.1550

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-12-14
Date published: 2018-12-14

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