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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 131-136

Serum zinc levels amongst under-five children with acute diarrhoea and bacterial pathogens

1 Department of Paediatrics, Bwari General Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
3 Department of Chemical Pathology and Immunology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Oyetundun Fausat Afolabi
Department of Paediatrics, Bwari General Hospital, PMB 72, Bwari, Abuja
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_79_18

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Background and Aim: Acute diarrhoea contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality in under-five children globally with conflicting reports regarding the therapeutic benefit of zinc across the different causative pathogens. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of bacterial aetiology of children with acute diarrhoea and compare their serum zinc levels. Methods: One hundred children aged 2–59 months with acute diarrhoea and 100 apparently healthy matched controls were recruited in Ilorin, North Central Nigeria. Stool specimens were investigated for bacterial pathogens using conventional culture techniques, while serum zinc levels were determined by colorimetric method. Results: Bacteria were isolated in 73 (73.0%) patients and 6 (6.0%) controls. Escherichia coli was isolated in 39 (39.0%) of the patients, while Klebsiella spp., Proteus spp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were isolated in 28 (28.0%), 4 (4.0%) and 2 (2.0%) patients, respectively.E. coli and Klebsiella spp. were detected in 4 (4.0%) and 2 (2.0%) controls, respectively. The mean serum zinc level of 65.3 ± 7.4 μg/dl in the patients was significantly lower than 69.0 ± 6.5 μg/dl in the controls (P < 0.001). Zinc deficiency (serum zinc levels < 65 μg/dl) was detected in 47 (47.0%) patients which was significantly higher than 32 (32.0%) controls (P = 0.030). The mean serum zinc levels significantly differed amongst the bacteria isolated in the patients (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Bacterial pathogens constitute a significant burden to aetiology of acute diarrhoea in under-five Nigerian children. The prevalence of zinc deficiency was high in the study population. The serum zinc levels also differed across the bacteria isolated.

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