Cryptosporidium: A Cause of Gastroenteritis in Preschool Children in Jordan

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In this case-control study, we investigated the role of Cryptosporidium in gastroenteritis in children 6 years old. Six hundred fresh stool specimens were examined for various pathogenic parasites, bacteria, and rotaviruses. Wet-mount preparations, formaline-ether concentrations, and Sheather's floatation techniques were used to recover the parasite oocysts. Permanent stained slides using acid-fast stain and trichrome stains were prepared. Of 300 children with gastroenteritis symptoms, 20 (6.7%) had Cryptosporidium oocysts; seven of the 20 had concomitant infections so they were excluded from the counts. This infection rate is significantly different (Z=2; p<0.05) from that found in the control group (1.7%) of children who reported no symptoms. The most frequent symptoms reported beside diarrhea were abdominal pain, cramps, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Contaminated drinking water is suspected to be the source of infection; other possible factors are discussed.

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