Child defecation and feces management practices in rural Bangladesh: Associations with fecal contamination, observed hand cleanliness and child diarrhea.
Published Web Locationhttps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236163
Child open defecation is common in low-income countries and can lead to fecal exposure in the domestic environment. We assessed associations between child feces management practices vs. measures of contamination and child diarrhea among households with children <5 years in rural Bangladesh. We visited 360 households quarterly and recorded caregiver-reported diarrhea prevalence, and defecation and feces disposal practices for children <5 years. We examined caregiver and child hands for visible dirt and enumerated E. coli in child and caregiver hand rinse and stored drinking water samples. Safe child defecation (in latrine/potty) and safe feces disposal (in latrine) was reported by 21% and 23% of households, respectively. Controlling for potential confounders, households reporting unsafe child defecation had higher E. coli prevalence on child hands (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.12, 1.04-1.20) and in stored water (PR = 1.12,1.03-1.21). Similarly, households reporting unsafe feces disposal had higher E. coli prevalence on child hands (PR = 1.11, 1.02-1.21) and in stored water (PR = 1.10, 1.03-1.18). Effects on E. coli levels were similar. Children in households with unsafe defecation and feces disposal had higher diarrhea prevalence but the associations were not statistically significant. Our findings suggest that unsafe child feces management may present a source of fecal exposure for young children.
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