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Significance of Cryptosporidium as an aetiology of acute infectious diarrhoea in elderly Indians

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Summary objective 

To explore the significance of Cryptosporidium isolation in elderly Indian with acute infectious diarrhoea and its clinical correlates. design 

A hospital-based clinico-aetiological study of 120 patients aged 60 years or older, 25 adults younger than 60 years and 25 children up to age 14 with acute diarrhoea, and 57 apparently healthy elderly individuals. results 

Cryptosporidium was isolated in 22 older patients with diarrhoea (18.3%) and was highly significant (P < 0.01) compared with healthy age-matched controls. Of these patients 66% had a history of close contact with animals. Most (68%) Cryptosporidium infections occurred during the rainy season. Among the elderly patients 17% suffered from vomiting and abdominal pain, 31% were febrile; none were severely dehydrated. Stools numbered three to nine per day with duration of 5–17 days. Stool leucocytes were <6/hpf and no RBCs were seen. Isolation of Cryptosporidium in older persons was associated with diabetes mellitus (22.7%), tuberculosis (9.0%), malignancy (4.5%) and coronary artery disease (4.5%). conclusion 

Cryptosporidium is an important cause of diarrhoea in elderly Indians, especially those with close contact with animals. The infection has a mild clinical course, is self-limiting and does not cause dysenteric stool. Its effect on nutrition requires further study.
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Keywords: Cryptosporidium; India; acute diarrhoea; elderly

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Geriatrics, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India 2: Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India 3: Department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Publication date: 01 May 2003

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