The aim of the present study, carried out in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, was to identify episode-specific risk factors for persistent diarrhoea (PD) related to clinical observations and management efforts. We followed 319 episodes of childhood diarrhoea by repeated household interviews until the episode stopped or after 14 days with diarrhoea. Children who still had diarrhoea after 14 days (n = 40, 12.5% of episodes) were regarded as suffering from PD. Clinical signs, perceived by the mother, were recorded together with care-seeking behaviour and management actions. Tired and rapid breathing prior (OR = 6.52 (95% CI 1.69-25.1)), mother had to force breast feeding (OR = 8.01 (2.99-21.5)) and current infection with Cryptosporidium (OR = 5.53 (2.10-14.6)) were the most important independent risk factors for the development of PD. Late consultation (> 48 h) was associated with PD, reflecting that these episodes initially were less acute. Use of oral rehydration salts did not have an impact on development of PD, whereas home medication tended to increase the risk of PD. Our study confirms the close association between systemic illness and PD as well as the importance of cryptosporidiosis as a cause of PD. We were unable to identify management factors with a significant influence on the risk of developing PD.
Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Transactions, 2013, Vol 93, Issue 1, p. 65-8