Epidemiology and Infection

Review Article

Diarrhoea morbidity and mortality in older children, adolescents, and adults

C. L. FISCHER WALKERa1 c1 and R. E. BLACKa1

a1 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

SUMMARY

Diarrhoea is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality yet diarrhoea specific incidence and mortality rates for older children, adolescents, and adults have not been systematically calculated for many countries. We conducted a systematic literature review to generate regional incidence rates by age and to summarize diarrhoea specific mortality rates for regions of the world with inadequate vital registration data. Diarrhoea morbidity rates range from 29·9 episodes/100 person-years for adults in the South East Asian region to 88·4 episodes/100 person-years in older children in the Eastern Mediterranean region and have remained unchanged in the last 30 years. Diarrhoea mortality rates decline as the child ages and remain relatively constant during adulthood. These data are critical for improving estimates worldwide and further highlight the need for improved diarrhoea specific morbidity and mortality data in these age groups.

(Accepted February 17 2010)

(Online publication March 22 2010)

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