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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Title Defining episodes of diarrhoea: results from a three-country study in Sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 24
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 8-16
URL http://researchspace.csir.co.za/dspace/bitstream/10204/1949/3/wright_2006.pdf
The study was conducted to assess the effect of definition of episode on diarrhoeal morbidity and to
develop a means of adjusting estimates of morbidity for the definition of episode used. This paper
reports on a cohort study of 374 children, aged 9-32 months, in three African countries, which recorded
frequency and consistency of stool over a seven-month period. Different definitions of episode were
applied to these data to assess their effect on annualized diarrhoeal morbidity. Adjustment factors were
then derived that corrected morbidity for non-standard definitions of episode. Applying non-standard
definitions of episode gave estimates of an annualized number of episodes between 38% and 137% of
the internationally-accepted definition. Researchers should be encouraged to use the standard definition
of episode of diarrhoea and to use appropriate field protocols. Where this is not possible, correction
factors should be applied, particularly where estimates of diarrhoeal morbidity are pooled in systematic

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