The effect of acute malnutrition on enteric pathogens, moderate-to-severe diarrhoea, and associated mortality in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study cohort: a post-hoc analysis

The Lancet Global Health. 2020;8(2):e215-e224

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: The Lancet Global Health

ISSN: 2214-109X (Online)

Publisher: Elsevier

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Public aspects of medicine

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS


Kirkby D Tickell, MBBS (Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya; Correspondence to: Dr Kirkby D Tickell, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA)

Rumana Sharmin, MBBS (International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research (icddr, b), Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Emily L Deichsel, PhD (Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA)

Laura M Lamberti, PhD (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA, USA)

Judd L Walson, MD (Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya)

A S G Faruque, MBBS (International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research (icddr, b), Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Patricia B Pavlinac, PhD (Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA)

Karen L Kotloff, MD (Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA)

Mohammod J Chisti, PhD (Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya; International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research (icddr, b), Dhaka, Bangladesh)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 10 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Summary: Background: Host vulnerabilities associated with acute malnutrition could facilitate the ability of specific enteric pathogens to cause diarrhoea and associated mortality. Using data from the Global Enteric Multicenter Study, we assessed whether acute malnutrition modifies the association between common enteric pathogens and moderate-to-severe diarrhoea, and whether associations between enteric pathogens and death were modified by acute malnutrition. Methods: Children with moderate-to-severe diarrhoea and age-matched and community-matched controls were included in this post-hoc analysis if their mid-upper arm circumference had been measured and if they were older than 6 months of age. Acute malnutrition was defined as mid-upper arm circumference below 12·5 cm, capturing both severe acute malnutrition (<11·5 cm) and moderate acute malnutrition (≥11·5 cm and <12·5 cm). We tested whether acute malnutrition modified associations between enteric pathogens and moderate-to-severe diarrhoea in conditional logistic regression models. Among children with moderate-to-severe diarrhoea, Cox proportional hazards regression evaluated the modifying effect of acute malnutrition on the relationship between pathogens and 60-day fatality rate. Findings: The age, site, and co-infection adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for moderate-to-severe diarrhoea associated with typical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli among children aged 6–11 months was 2·08 (95% CI 1·14–3·79) in children with acute malnutrition, and 0·97 (0·77–1·23) in children with better nutritional status, compared with healthy controls. Enterotoxigenic E coli producing heat-stable toxin among children aged 12–23 months also had a stronger association with moderate-to-severe diarrhoea in children with acute malnutrition (aOR 7·60 [2·63–21·95]) than among similarly aged children with better nutritional status (aOR 2·39 [1·76–3·25]). Results for Shigella spp, norovirus, and sapovirus suggested they had a stronger association with moderate-to-severe diarrhoea than other pathogens among children with better nutritional status, although Shigella spp remained associated with moderate-to-severe diarrhoea in both nutritional groups. 92 (64%) of 144 children with moderate-to-severe diarrhoea who died had acute malnutrition. Pathogen-specific 60-day fatality rates for all pathogens were higher among children with acute malnutrition, but no individual pathogen had a significantly larger increase in its relative association with mortality. Interpretation: Acute malnutrition might strengthen associations between specific pathogens and moderate-to-severe diarrhoea. However, the strong link between acute malnutrition and mortality during moderate-to-severe diarrhoea in children is not limited to specific infections, and affects a broad spectrum of enteric pathogens. Interventions addressing acute malnutrition could be an effective way to lower the mortality of both childhood malnutrition and diarrhoea. Funding: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.