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Epidemiologic Features of Acute Pediatric Diarrhea in Managua, Nicaragua, from 2011 to 2019


Diarrhea remains a leading cause of death in children in developing countries, including Nicaragua, but little is known about patterns of diarrhea occurrence in Central America over long periods of time. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence, risk factors, long-term trends, and seasonality of diarrhea in children age 2 to 14 years in Managua, Nicaragua. From 2011 to 2019, we examined episodes of diarrhea among 6,485 children who participated in a prospective cohort study and presented for care in a primary care facility. We performed a longitudinal analysis considering time-varying variables and the intra-subject correlation of outcomes. In addition, we analyzed the weekly incidence of diarrhea, applying seasonal trend decomposition to extract secular and seasonal patterns. The overall incidence rate of diarrhea was 133.4 episodes per 1,000 person-years (95% CI, 128.3-138.7). We observed a slight increase in the incidence of diarrhea from 2011 to 2019. Younger age was the strongest predictor of the risk of diarrhea, and incidence increased with every additional hour without running water in the household per day. Diarrhea incidence in Managua was seasonal, with high peaks each year between May and July. Despite reductions in childhood mortality since 1990 in Nicaragua, diarrheal morbidity remains a major problem in Managua.

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