a1 Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, Universidad de Chile, Casill 15138, Santiago 11, Chile
Faecal excretion of enteropathogens was studied in newborns in their first week of life. Rotavirus was investigated in 225 neonates, of whom 107 belonged to the low socio-economic stratum (SES) and 118 to the high SES. Half of each group were delivered by caesarean section. Rotavirus was detected in 10 infants (4.4%). Eight of them had been in the same ward and excreted the same viral electrophoretype. Enteropathogenic bacteria were isolated from 8 out of 57 (14–0%) newborns. Positive cultures were equally distributed by SES and route of delivery. Giardia lamblia was the only parasite detected, in one infant (2–6%) of the high SES. None of the children developed symptoms. Faecal excretion of enteropathogens ended spontaneously within a week in all cases. It is suggested that the lack of symptomatology and the spontaneous termination of the faecal excretion are related to immaturity of the small intestinal mucosa, that does not allow the completion of the steps that must take place during a successful infectious event.
(Accepted March 09 1988)