Zinc supplementation is recommended in all acute diarrheas in children from developing countries. We aimed to assess whether zinc supplementation would be equally effective against all the common organisms associated with acute diarrheas. We used data on 801 children with acute diarrhea recruited in a randomized, double blind controlled trial (ISRCTN85071383) of zinc and copper supplementation. Using prespecified subgroup analyses, multidimensionality reduction analyses, tests of heterogeneity, and stepwise logistic regression for tests of interactions, we found that the influence of zinc on the risk of diarrhea for more than 3 days depended on the isolated organism—beneficial in Klebsiella, neutral in Esherichia coli and parasitic infections, and detrimental in rotavirus coinfections. Although we found similar results for the outcome of high stool volume, the results did not reach statistical significance. Our findings suggest that the current strategy of zinc supplementation in all cases of acute diarrheas in children may need appropriate fine tuning to optimize the therapeutic benefit based on the causative organism, but further studies need to confirm and extend our findings.
Int J Pediatr 2010;Article ID 671587.
By: Patel AB, Dibley MJ, Mamtani M, Badhoniya N, Kulkarni H