Diseases Diseases

About Diarrhoeal Diseases in Children

Published at 04/02/2012 13:34:34


What is diarrhea? For those that are not aware of the term, it derives from a Greek term, which signifies “flowing through”. It is a body condition that characterizes through having too many liquid bowel movements per day. Anyhow, it is a bad condition of the body, as it is known as being a highly common cause of death, in the developed countries and the second most common cause of children death. As an example, in 2009 it caused 1.1 million deaths in people that were aged over 5 years old, and 1.5 million deaths in children under 5 years old.

Causes that lead to Diarrhoeal Diseases

Diarrhoeal Diseases is a common disease in children that deserves being taken into consideration and studied as long as it requires, in order to stop it. The gastrointestinal infections that is characterized by, is caused by a wide variety of pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Not all of the pathogens are so dangerous; just a few are responsible for the acute cases of Diarrhoeal Diseases in children, and those are rotavirus, E.coli, Shigella, Campylobacter, Salmonella and V. Cholerae. The most common way of transmitting the Diarrhoeal Diseases pathogens is through fecal-oral transmission. This is a main cause of death especially during natural disasters periods, when the displacement of population occurs. Along with it, there comes the temporary shelter that is overcrowded, may have some polluted water resources, poor hygiene possibilities, contaminated food, malnutrition etc.

Forms in children

Children are more likely to catch this disease and to have acute forms of it, which are life threatening, especially because water constitutes a great proportion of their body weight, and dehydration has more severe effects in this case. They as well, have more difficulties in dealing with malnutrition and poor environmental conditions.

There are various acute forms of Diarrhoeal Diseases in children. Out of them, three main ones are more likely to be life threatening. These are acute watery diarrhea, which is characterized by cholera and significant fluid loss and very fast dehydration. It lasts no longer than several hours or at most, days; the bloody diarrhea that is commonly referred to as dysentery and it is characterized by intestinal damage and nutrient losses. The cause for this is the Shigella bacterial agent. The third form of acute Diarrhoeal Diseases in children is the persistent diarrhea, which is characterized with or without blood and it lasts at least 14 days. Children likely to catch this type are those that are not well nourished or those that have other diseases.

Preventing and treating

Global unions such as UNICEF try to take the needing steps in preventing and treating this deadly disease among children. The water, sanitation and a good hygiene are the main factors to start preventing the Diarrhoeal Diseases appearance. According to the latest reports done, almost 1 billion of people lack the possibility to have access to good water solutions, and some of them do not store their water supplies safely. This lack of water goes all the way, to lacking the simplest hygiene practice, like washing the hands. Today, as many as 129 million children suffer from malnutrition and are underweight for their age. Africa and South Asia account for over 80 percent of this number. One needs to be sure the child is breastfeed at least the first six months; has the necessary amount of Vitamin A; has the necessary vaccines for immunization done.

The most common treatment known since the early 1970’s is the oral rehydration therapy, mixed with continuous feeding.