Prevalence of anemia among children with persistent diarrhea with a trial of zinc therapy


Across sectional study done at the Tikrit Teaching Hospital among children aged between 6 months and 5 years of age during the period from the 1st of July 2005 to the last of May 2006 aimed to study the prevalence of anemia among patients with persistent diarrhea. A total of 100 cases were eligible for inclusion in the study sample compared with 100 children with the same age group attending the out patient clinic of the same hospital for another reasons with no history of persistent diarrhea as a control sample which was selected randomly. The study shows that the prevalence of anemia among patients with persistent diarrhea was 69% compared with the control sample (49%). The most common age group affected with anemia was the second half of the first year of life 35 cases (85.3%), in comparison to 17 cases (60.7%) in the control group. Most of the cases (67%) came from the rural areas, so as the anemic cases (73.1%). Most of the study cases were on the bottle feeding (31%). Patients whose mothers are illiterate constitute a high proportion of the study cases (49%) and (77.5%) for anemia cases. The prevalence of malnutrition was significantly higher in children with persistent diarrhea (55%), (89.1%) of them were anemic, in comparison to the control group (19%), 68% of them were anemic. Fifty patients were treated with oral zinc supplements. It is clearly shown that the group of pateints with oral zinc supplements has decreased in the duration of diarrhea, number of stools per day and the duration of the hospital stay as compared with the no zinc supplement. The study recommends that the vicious circle of persistent diarrhea and malnutrition should be considered and managed and should consider that oral zinc supplement is an important line of treatment in such patients