Dysentery - a risk factor for zinc deficiency


  • Olufunmilola Olubisi Abolurin Department of Pediatrics, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals complex, Ile-Ife
  • Oyeku Akibu Oyelami Department of Pediatrics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Saheed Babajide Oseni Department of Pediatrics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife




Zinc deficiency, Dysentery, Children


Background: The study was carried out to determine the prevalence of zinc deficiency among under-five children with dysentery, and to compare the prevalence of zinc deficiency in children with dysentery with those who have acute non-bloody diarrhoea.

Methods: Serum zinc levels were determined using Atomic absorption spectrometry in under-five children with dysentery as well as those with non-bloody diarrhoea. A total of 250 children with diarrhoea were studied at the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, Nigeria.

Results: Twenty seven (10.8%) of the 250 children had dysentery, while the remaining 223 children had non-bloody watery stools. Children with dysentery had a significantly lower mean serum (SD) zinc level of 65.1 (25.0) µg/dl, compared with a mean (SD) of 80.5 (36.3) µg/dl among those without visible blood in their stools (p = 0.034). Zinc deficiency (serum zinc <65 µg/dl) was also more prevalent among the dysentery group than those without visible blood in their stools (48.1% versus 28.3%; p = 0.034).

Conclusions: Presence of visible blood in stools is a risk factor for zinc deficiency among children with diarrhoea.


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