Surveillance Study of Acute Gastroenteritis Etiologies in Hospitalized Children in South Lebanon (SAGE study)
Purpose: Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) is a major cause of morbidity and remains a major cause of hospitalization. Following the Syrian refugee crisis and insufficient clean water in the region, this study reviews the etiological and epidemiological data in Lebanon. Methods: We prospectively analyzed demographic, clinical and routine laboratory data of 198 children from the age of 1 month to 10 years old who were admitted with the diagnosis of AGE to a private tertiary care hospital located in the district of Nabatieh in south Lebanon. Results: Males had a higher incidence of AGE (57.1%). Pathogens were detected in 57.6% (n=114) of admitted patients, among them single pathogens were found in 51.0% (n=101) of cases that consisted of: Entamoeba histolytica 26.3% (n=52), rotavirus 18.7% (n=37), adenovirus 6.1% (n=12) and mixed co-pathogens found in 6.6% (n=13). Breast-fed children were significantly less prone to rotavirus (p=0.041). Moreover, children who had received the rotavirus vaccine were significantly less prone to rotavirus (p=0.032). Conclusion: Our findings highlight the high prevalence of E. histolytica infection as the major cause of pediatric gastroenteritis in hospitalized children, during the summer period likely reflecting the insanitary water supplies and lack of hygiene. Moreover the 42.4% of unidentified causative pathogens should prompt us to widen our diagnostic laboratory arsenal by adopting new diagnostic technologies.
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