Relative Frequencies and Prevalence Rates of Pathogenic Escherichia Coli and Intestinal Parasites in Diarrhoeal Infants aged 0-5 years admitted to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Child Welfare Clinic, Kumasi.

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Diarrheal disease is one of the most significant health problems and it is the cause of morbidity and mortality among the notifiable diseases in infants 0-3 years in the developing countries. The main objectives of this study was to determine the relative frequency and incidence rates of pathogenic Escherichia coli and intestinal parasites in infants (0-5 years) and to investigate the socio-economic factors promoting transmission of intestinal parasites. The work also seeks to determine the concordance between the cold- Acid-fast and the conventional Ziehl-Neelsen techniques in the detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in faecal specimens. From the studies, Enteropathogenic E. coli was the most frequently detected Enteropathogen, accounting for ‘14.8% of positive findings in the group with diarrheal versus 4.1% in the control group. Other important agents encountered included Ascaris lumbricoides (11.1% versus 1.6%), Cryptosporidium (8.0% versus 0.8%) in terms of sick and healthy children. The following were exclusively detected in diarrheal stools: Giardia lamblia (3.7%); Trachomonas hominis (1.9%); Trichuris trichiura (0.6%); and Hookworm (0.6%). Toilet facilities, water supply and family background were investigated using a specially prepared questionnaire. There were 118 diarrheal cases in areas with public places of convince as against 44 cases with private toilet facilities. Pipe-borne water supply is available to the study population, but not uniformly distributed and most of the infants were children of parents in the low income group. However, there was no significant difference between the cold-Acid-fast and conventional Ziehl-Neelsen staining techniques in the detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in faecal specimens in this work. From the results, EPEC and Cryptosporidium may be considered as important diarrheogenic pathogens and it is hoped that improvement in environmental conditions may decrease diarrhoeas caused by EPEC and Cryptosporidium. A simple rapid and reliable diagnostic Method developed by Addy and Aikins-Bekoe (1991) for staining Cryptosporidium oocysts in faecal specimens has been suggested for research and diagnostic laboratories in developing countries.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Clinical Microbiology, 1995