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Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Infectious Diseases - Non-Clinical Medicine - Pediatrics and Child Health - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Estimating Diarrhea Mortality among Young Children in Low and Middle Income Countries
Published: Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Author: Christa L. Fischer Walker et al.

by Christa L. Fischer Walker, Martin J. Aryee, Cynthia Boschi-Pinto, Robert E. Black


Diarrhea remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children under 5 years of age, but in many low and middle-income countries where vital registration data are lacking, updated estimates with regard to the proportion of deaths attributable to diarrhea are needed.


We conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies reporting diarrhea proportionate mortality for children 1–59 mo of age published between 1980 and 2009. Using the published proportionate mortality estimates and country level covariates we constructed a logistic regression model to estimate country and regional level proportionate mortality and estimated uncertainty bounds using Monte-Carlo simulations.


We identified more than 90 verbal autopsy studies from around the world to contribute data to a single-cause model. We estimated diarrhea proportionate mortality for 84 countries in 6 regions and found diarrhea to account for between 10.0% of deaths in the Americas to 31.3% of deaths in the South-east Asian region.


Diarrhea remains a leading cause of death for children 1–59 mo of age. Published literature can be used to create a single-cause mortality disease model to estimate mortality for countries lacking vital registration data.