Author(s): Ashraf S, Huque MH, Kenah E, Agboatwalla M, Luby SP, Ashraf S, Huque MH, Kenah E, Agboatwalla M, Luby SP
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Abstract BACKGROUND: We assessed the association between the duration of diarrhoea and the risk ofpneumonia incidence among children <5 years of age. METHODS: We analysed data from a cluster randomized controlled trial in Karachi, Pakistan, which assessed the effect of promoting hand washing with soap (antibacterial and plain) on child health. Field workers visited households with children <5 years of age weekly and asked primary caregivers if their child had diarrhoea, cough or difficulty breathing in the preceding week. We used the WHO clinical case definitions for diarrhoea and pneumonia.We used adjusted time-to-event analyses with cumulative diarrhoea prevalence over the previous 2 and 4 weeks as exposure and pneumonia as outcome. We calculated the attributable risk of pneumonia due to recent diarrhoea across the intervention groups. RESULTS: 873 households with children <5 years were visited. Children had an increased risk of pneumonia for every additional day of diarrhoea in the 2 weeks (1.06, 95\% CI: 1.03-1.09) and 4 weeks (1.04, 95\% CI: 1.03-1.06) prior to the week of pneumonia onset. The attributable risk of pneumonia cases due to recent exposure to diarrhoea was 6\%. A lower associated pneumonia risk following diarrhoea was found in the control group: (3\%) compared with soap groups (6\% in antibacterial soap, 9\% in plain soap). CONCLUSION: Children <5 years of age are at an increased risk of pneumonia following recent diarrhoeal illness. Public health programmes that prevent diarrhoea may also reduce the burden of respiratory illnesses.
This article was published in Int J Epidemiol
and referenced in Journal of General Practice