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Epidemiological factors in acute infectious infantile diarrhea in cape town south africa


, : Epidemiological factors in acute infectious infantile diarrhea in cape town south africa. South African Medical Journal 73(6): 346-349

The results of a year-long prospective study of the epidemiological factors associated with acute infectious infantile diarrhoea in Cape Town [South Africa] are reported. Many coloured infants had a low birth weight, which was a risk factor for subsequent malnutrition. The parents were young, often unmarried, had 1-3 children and below average living conditions. However, coloured parents were better educated and had smaller families than their black counterparts. The incidence of breast-feeding was low, especially in the coloured population group. Black families originated from a largely migrant population and generally came from a squalid environment and had a higher incidence of sibling deaths. A hypothesis is advanced: coloured infants with infectious diarrhoea came from a deprived subgroup of their community while black patients came from a society that is generally disadvantaged and impoverished. In both groups finanical pressures exacerbate the situation. Priorities are an improvement in living conditions-particularly for the black community-and the promotion of breast-feeding among coloured mothers. Oral rehydration programmes are advocated for both groups.

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