Routine diagnostic methods for the aetiologic agents of diarrhoea in most developing countries are usually not sensitive enough, leading to under-diagnosis. Thus, this study investigated possible mixed diarrhoeal aetiology by using cultures and real-time polymerase chain reactions (PCR) in children younger than four years old in the Northwest Province, South Africa. In total, 505 stool samples were collected from symptomatic and asymptomatic children who were attending three clinics and the Brits hospital in Madibeng District, between September 2016 and December 2017. Rotavirus, norovirus, Campylobacter, Arcobacter, and diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) were targeted. Campylobacter spp. (24.6%), Arcobacter (15.8%) and DEC (19.6%) were detected using PCR; only Campylobacter spp. (29.7%) and DEC (26.9%) were detected through the culture. Campylobacter jejuni (36%), Campylobacter coli (28%), Campylobacter upsalensis (12%), and Arcobacter butzleri (15.8%) were the only spp. of Campylobacter and Arcobacter identified. The eaeA gene (31.4%) of enteropathogenic E. coli/enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EPEC/EHEC) was the most prevalent DEC virulence gene (VG) identified. Rotavirus and norovirus were detected at 23.4% and 20%, respectively. Mixed viral aetiology (7.3%) and the co-infection of A. butzleri and Campylobacter (49%) were recorded. A mixed bacterial-viral aetiology was observed in 0.6% of the specimens. Sensitive diagnostic procedures like PCR should be considered to provide the best treatment to children experiencing diarrhoea.
- Diarrhoeagenic E
- Virulence genes