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Background: Diarrhoea illnesses continue to cause major sickness and death in children in developing countries. They often occur simultaneously in association with other illnesses as comorbidities, especially in children under five years of age. There is a dearth of literature on these comorbidities.
Objective: To evaluate the pattern of diarrhoea and associated comorbidities in children with diarrhoea diseases at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.
Methods: This was a descriptive, retrospective cross sectional study carried out in the Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, between January 2011 to December 2014. The case notes of all children with diarrhoea who presented to the Diarrhoea Training Unit (DTU) and children’s emergency ward were retrieved and studied. Information sought included the biodata, type of diarrhoea, presence and level of dehydration, year and month of presentation, outcome of illness and comorbidities.
Results: There were 394 subjects, males were 215(54.6%), females 179(45.4%). Their ages ranged from 1 month to 168 months, mean age 17.1±2.8 months. Acute watery diarrhoea was the most common type 321 (81.47%), followed by dysentery 47 (11.93%). Two hundred and thirty nine (60.7%) patients had no dehydration, 37 (9.46%) mild dehydration, 107 (27.2%) moderate dehydration and 11 (2.8%) severe dehydration. Malaria was the most common comorbidity 66 (16.8%), followed by tonsillitis 65(16%) and pneumonia 45 (11.4%). Two hundred and eighteen (55.3%) were discharged following treatment and 14 (3.6%) died.
Conclusion: The commonest type of diarrhoea found was acute watery diarrhoea and malaria was the most frequent comorbidity found.
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