March 1988

Cryptosporidium, Malnutrition, and Chronic Diarrhea in Children

Author Affiliations

From the Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.; Dr Sallon is a Reitman Fellow of the Children's Nutritional Disease Project, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University. Dr Deckelbaum is now with the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, NY.

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(3):312-315. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150030086027

Cryptosporidium was found in the stools of 13.5% of 221 children hospitalized with diarrhea. It was the single most prevalent pathogen isolated. Children with Cryptosporidium-positive stools were significantly more malnourished than children in whom Cryptosporidium was not detected. Children with more severe malnutrition (ie, less than 50% of their expected weight) and with Cryptosporidium in their stools had a significantly longer duration of diarrhea than similarly malnourished children without Cryptosporidium (63 vs 32 days, respectively). In 77 better-nourished outpatients with diarrhea, Cryptosporidium was found in only 5.2% of cases and was associated with lesssevere illness. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that in less-developed areas, Cryptosporidium is a major pathogen, not only in acute but also in chronic childhood diarrhea, and may play an important role in the interaction between diarrhea and malnutrition.

(AJDC 1988;142:312-315)