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Determinants of Childhood Zoonotic Enteric Infections in a Semirural Community of Quito, Ecuador.

  • Author(s): Lowenstein, Christopher
  • Vasco, Karla
  • Sarzosa, Soledad
  • Salinas, Liseth
  • Torres, Andrea
  • Perry, Melissa J
  • Simmens, Samuel J
  • Trueba, Gabriel
  • Eisenberg, Joseph NS
  • Graham, Jay P
  • et al.
Abstract

Domestic animals in the household environment have the potential to affect a child's carriage of zoonotic enteric pathogens and risk of diarrhea. This study examines the risk factors associated with pediatric diarrhea and carriage of zoonotic enteric pathogens among children living in communities where smallholder livestock production is prevalent. We conducted an observational study of children younger than 5 years that included the analysis of child (n = 306) and animal (n = 480) fecal samples for Campylobacter spp., atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Salmonella spp., Yersinia spp., Cryptosporidium parvum, and Giardia lamblia. Among these seven pathogens, Giardia was the most commonly identified pathogen among children and animals in the same household, most of which was found in child-dog pairs. Campylobacter spp. was also relatively common within households, particularly among child-chicken and child-guinea pig pairs. We used multivariable Poisson regression models to assess risk factors associated with a child being positive for at least one zoonotic enteric pathogen or having diarrhea during the last week. Children who interacted with domestic animals-a behavior reported by nearly three-quarters of households owning animals-were at an increased risk of colonization with at least one zoonotic enteric pathogen (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.00-2.42). The risk of diarrhea in the last seven days was elevated but not statistically significant (PR = 2.27, CI: 0.91, 5.67). Interventions that aim to reduce pediatric exposures to enteric pathogens will likely need to be incorporated with approaches that remove animal fecal contamination from the domestic environment and encourage behavior change aimed at reducing children's contact with animal feces through diverse exposure pathways.

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