Prolonged acute diarrhea in adults: Decades of observation from epidemiological perspective in urban Bangladesh


The study aimed to determine the epidemiological, clinical characteristics, and etiology of adults aged ≥20 years presented with prolonged acute diarrhea (≥7 days). A total of 18,210 adults aged ≥20 years were enrolled in the Diarrheal Disease Surveillance System of icddr,b between 1993-2012 and included into the analysis. Of these, 17,631 (97%) had duration of diarrhea ≤6 days, 418 (2%) diarrhea presented with a duration of 7 - 13 days and rest 161 (1%) had history of diarrhea ≥14 days. A higher proportion of adult individuals who had duration of diarrhea ≥14 days (70% vs. 56%; p < 0.001) and 7 - 13 days (62% vs. 56%; p = 0.006) compared to those ≤6 days were male. At least 73% of all patients used oral rehydration solution; but proportion was lower among prolonged acute diarrhea groups. Use of antimicrobials was higher among those with duration 7 - 13 days (81%) and ≥14 days (81%). Diarrhea lasting ≥14 days, 47% were suffering from chronic energy deficiency and 30% had history of smoking. Individuals with diarrhea ≥7 days less frequently presented with vomiting, watery stool, frequency of stool >10 times/24 hours, drowsy or lethargy, fast breathing, some or severe dehydration, received intravenous saline for initial corrections of dehydration and stayed for longer duration in hospital (≥24 hours) but more often presented with abdominal pain. Stool microscopic examination showed less frequent presence of red blood cells (36% vs. 44%; p = 0.043) and fecal leucocytes (50% vs. 59%; p = 0.029) among individuals with diarrhea ≥14 days compared to those with ≤6 days. None was infected with Vibrio cholerae (≥14 days) (3% for 7 - 13 days); however, isolation rate of Aeromonas was higher among adults with duration for ≥14 days (11%). Only 15% with ≥14 days were positive for Shigella contrary to 19% (7 - 13 days) and 56% (≤6 days). Differences in sociodemographic, clinical presentation and etiology varied with duration of diarrhea among adults.

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Das, S. , Chisti, M. , Ahmed, S. , Malek, M. , Farzana, F. , Ferdous, F. , Latham, J. and Faruque, A. (2013) Prolonged acute diarrhea in adults: Decades of observation from epidemiological perspective in urban Bangladesh. Open Journal of Gastroenterology, 3, 208-213. doi: 10.4236/ojgas.2013.33034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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