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Global Health
August 20, 2014

Novel Microbes Associated With Diarrheal Disease in Poor Countries

JAMA. 2014;312(7):687. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10318

Insights into the mechanisms of intestinal microbiota underlying diarrheal disease in children in developing countries are emerging from a genomic analysis of microbial flora (Pop M et al. Genome Biol. 2014;15[6]:R76).

An international team of researchers studied 992 children younger than 5 years from Bangladesh, Gambia, Kenya, and Mali. They used high-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA genomic sequencing to compare the composition of fecal microbiota samples from children who had moderate to severe diarrhea to those who were diarrhea-free. They found the main difference in the microbiota between diarrheal and healthy stools was the proportion of prevalent taxa. The researchers identified both microorganisms known to cause diarrhea and some that had not previously been implicated as causative diarrheal agents, such as Streptococcus and Granulicatella. The analysis also pointed to a protective role for Lactobacillus ruminis as well as microbes from the Prevotella genus, which are more commonly found in people living in the developing world than in more-developed countries.

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