Formative research on hygiene behaviors and geophagy among infants and young children and implications of exposure to fecal bacteria.

FM, Ngure; JH, Humphrey; NM, Mbuya; F, Majo; K, Mutasa; M, Govha; E, Mazarura; B, Chasekwa; A, Prendergast; V, Curtis; et al,
We conducted direct observation of 23 caregiver-infant pairs for 130 hours and recorded wash-related behaviors to identify pathways of fecal-oral transmission of bacteria among infants. In addition to testing fingers, food, and drinking water of infants, three infants actively ingested 11.3 ± 9.2 (mean ± SD) handfuls of soil and two ingested chicken feces 2 ± 1.4 times in 6 hours. Hand washing with soap was not common and drinking water was contaminated with Escherichia coli in half (12 of 22) of the households. A one-year-old infant ingesting 1 gram of chicken feces in a day and 20 grams of soil from a laundry area of the kitchen yard would consume 4,700,000-23,000,000 and 440-4,240 E. coli, respectively, from these sources. Besides standard wash and nutrition interventions, infants in low-income communities should be protected from exploratory ingestion of chicken feces, soil, and geophagia for optimal child health and growth.
Research areas:
Year:
2013
Type of Publication:
Article
Journal:
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume:
89
Number:
4
Pages:
709-16
Month:
October
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The Zvitambo Institute for Maternal and Child Health Research is a multidisciplinary Zimbabwean organization that has developed and attracted expertise in various areas of biomedical and applied research and programming in the areas of maternal health, child health and growth, immunology, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, WASH and counseling

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