Aetiology and incidence of diarrhoea requiring hospitalisation in children under 5 years of age in 28 low-income and middle-income countries: findings from the Global Pediatric Diarrhea Surveillance network

Adam L. Cohen, James A. Platts-Mills*, Tomoka Nakamura, Darwin J. Operario, Sébastien Antoni, Jason M. Mwenda, Goitom Weldegebriel, Gloria Rey-Benito, Lucia H. De Oliveira, Claudia Ortiz, Danni S. Daniels, Dovile Videbaek, Simarjit Singh, Emmanuel Njambe, Mohamed Sharifuzzaman, Varja Grabovac, Batmunkh Nyambat, Josephine Logronio, George Armah, Francis E. DennisMapaseka L. Seheri, Nokululeko Magagula, Jeffrey Mphahlele, Tulio M. Fumian, Irene T.A. Maciel, Jose Paulo Gagliardi Leite, Matthew D. Esona, Michael D. Bowen, Elena Samoilovich, Galina Semeiko, Dilip Abraham, Sidhartha Giri, Ira Praharaj, Gagandeep Kang, Sarah Thomas, Julie Bines, Na Liu, Hmwe H. Kyu, Matthew Doxey, Elizabeth T. Rogawski Mcquade, Timothy L. Mcmurry, Jie Liu, Eric R. Houpt, Jacqueline E. Tate, Umesh D. Parashar, Fatima Serhan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Diarrhoea remains a leading cause of child morbidity and mortality. Systematically collected and analysed data on the aetiology of hospitalised diarrhoea in low-income and middle-income countries are needed to prioritise interventions. Methods: We established the Global Pediatric Diarrhea Surveillance network, in which children under 5 years hospitalised with diarrhoea were enrolled at 33 sentinel surveillance hospitals in 28 low-income and middle-income countries. Randomly selected stool specimens were tested by quantitative PCR for 16 causes of diarrhoea. We estimated pathogen-specific attributable burdens of diarrhoeal hospitalisations and deaths. We incorporated country-level incidence to estimate the number of pathogen-specific deaths on a global scale. Results: During 2017-2018, 29 502 diarrhoea hospitalisations were enrolled, of which 5465 were randomly selected and tested. Rotavirus was the leading cause of diarrhoea requiring hospitalisation (attributable fraction (AF) 33.3%; 95% CI 27.7 to 40.3), followed by Shigella (9.7%; 95% CI 7.7 to 11.6), norovirus (6.5%; 95% CI 5.4 to 7.6) and adenovirus 40/41 (5.5%; 95% CI 4.4 to 6.7). Rotavirus was the leading cause of hospitalised diarrhoea in all regions except the Americas, where the leading aetiologies were Shigella (19.2%; 95% CI 11.4 to 28.1) and norovirus (22.2%; 95% CI 17.5 to 27.9) in Central and South America, respectively. The proportion of hospitalisations attributable to rotavirus was approximately 50% lower in sites that had introduced rotavirus vaccine (AF 20.8%; 95% CI 18.0 to 24.1) compared with sites that had not (42.1%; 95% CI 33.2 to 53.4). Globally, we estimated 208 009 annual rotavirus-attributable deaths (95% CI 169 561 to 259 216), 62 853 Shigella-attributable deaths (95% CI 48 656 to 78 805), 36 922 adenovirus 40/41-attributable deaths (95% CI 28 469 to 46 672) and 35 914 norovirus-attributable deaths (95% CI 27 258 to 46 516). Conclusions: Despite the substantial impact of rotavirus vaccine introduction, rotavirus remained the leading cause of paediatric diarrhoea hospitalisations. Improving the efficacy and coverage of rotavirus vaccination and prioritising interventions against Shigella, norovirus and adenovirus could further reduce diarrhoea morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere009548
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2022


  • PCR
  • child health
  • epidemiology
  • infections, diseases, disorders, injuries
  • public health


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