Faeces or rectal swabs were taken from 460 patients under the age of 2 yr on admission to a Dublin paediatric hospital. Of the 460, 70 had diarrhoea and 390 were without diarrhoea on admission. The results of bacteriological examination of the specimens gave an indication of the range of enteropathogenic organisms causing disease in the community served by the hospital.

Of the 390 patients admitted without diarrhoea, 54 subsequently developed it; and of the 70 admitted with diarrhoea, 14 developed a second attack after recovering from the first. Examination of specimens from the 68 infants who developed diarrhoea after admission to hospital indicated the degree and pattern of cross-infection within the hospital. The importance of 0142:K86:H6 as a cause of diarrhoea during the survey was clearly demonstrated.


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