Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

179 million cases of acute diarrhea in U.S. each year, most preventable

Date:
April 22, 2014
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Summary:
Approximately 179 million cases of acute diarrhea occur each year in the United States, and most of those cases are entirely preventable, a researcher concluded. The main causes of diarrheal infections include norovirus outbreaks and foodborne pathogens, with most coming from contaminated leafy green vegetables, he states.

"Consumers need to give their leafy greens a bath and a shower in order to make sure they are safe to eat," says DuPont, instructing that leafy greens must be soaked in a bowl of water or the sink and then rinsed thoroughly by running water through a colander before consumption in order to avoid contaminants.
Credit: oocoskun / Fotolia

In the United States, approximately 179 million cases of acute diarrhea occur each year, and most of those cases are entirely preventable, a researcher from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) concluded in a New England Journal of Medicine review article.

Herbert L. DuPont, M.D., director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the UTHealth School of Public Health, examined current causes, prevention strategies and treatment for acute diarrhea in healthy adults. He says the main causes of diarrheal infections include norovirus outbreaks and foodborne pathogens, with most coming from contaminated leafy green vegetables.

Produce is the most common source of diarrhea due to foodborne intestinal illness. Most consumers are not aware that 98 percent of spinach and lettuce bought from grocery stores is not inspected and much of it comes from developing countries. One study showed that of the 2 percent that is inspected, 40 percent failed inspection and could be contaminated by diarrhea-producing E. coli or Salmonella.

"Consumers need to give their leafy greens a bath and a shower in order to make sure they are safe to eat," says DuPont, instructing that leafy greens must be soaked in a bowl of water or the sink and then rinsed thoroughly by running water through a colander before consumption in order to avoid contaminants.

Noroviruses are the principal cause of diarrheal infections and are responsible for 50 percent of outbreaks due to the high potential for person-to-person spread. The outbreaks are particularly common in closed populations such as cruise ships, nursing homes, dormitories and hospitals. Eighty-three percent of deaths from acute diarrhea in the U.S. occur in adults ages 65 or older who have weaker immune systems and often are residing in closed populations.

"It's important for people who are experiencing symptoms to seek medical attention if they are sick longer than 48 hours, have fever or are passing bloody diarrhea," says DuPont.

Post-diarrheal health complications are major unappreciated concerns, DuPont says. After intestinal infection, a small number of people develop chronic conditions like arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or even autoimmune diseases like Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a form of paralysis. These complications usually affect people who have been exposed to pathogens that cause severe intestinal inflammation in people who are sicker, younger and for IBS, in those who are already dealing with depression or a chronic anxiety disorder.

DuPont says his analysis of current treatments for acute diarrhea shows a need for antibiotic treatment for certain infections. Most currently used drugs for diarrhea treat symptoms and ease pain, but these treatments do not shorten the illness. These drugs are of particular value for those who become ill while traveling to allow people to take bus trips or flights.

Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, or "C diff," is one of the most prevalent causes of fatal illness from diarrhea and usually emerges during or after a hospital stay in people who take antibiotics. Our current therapy for C diff is inadequate, with high rates of recurrent disease, says DuPont. He suggests developing vaccines to provide protection against C difficile and to use fecal microbiota transplantation (putting healthy bacteria from the intestine of the ill person) for people with multiple recurrences of C diff.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Herbert L. DuPont. Acute Infectious Diarrhea in Immunocompetent Adults. New England Journal of Medicine, 2014; 370 (16): 1532 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1301069

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "179 million cases of acute diarrhea in U.S. each year, most preventable." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422113243.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. (2014, April 22). 179 million cases of acute diarrhea in U.S. each year, most preventable. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422113243.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "179 million cases of acute diarrhea in U.S. each year, most preventable." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422113243.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins