Estimation of Rotavirus Associated Diarrheal Disease Burden Amongst Primary School Children of Sindh
Keywords:Diarrheal risk, Human Rotavirus infection, Primary school children, Waterborne Diseases
Introduction: Human Rotavirus Virus (HRV) is amongst the common enteric viral diarrheal diseases that indirectly or directly influence school-going children in low-income countries. Inadequate information exists on the presence of rotavirus, with reference to drinking water supplies of primary schools in Sindh, Pakistan.
Aims & Objectives: We estimated the risk of rotavirus-associated diarrhea through drinking water. The study further compared the HRV-associated risk of diarrheal disease by a type of water source.
Place and Duration of Study: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in ten representative districts of Sindh from February 2022 to December 2022. The samples for drinking water were collected from primary schools of ten representative districts of Sindh. This study was a part of the WASH Project funded by USAID (USPCASW Seed Grant P-II)
Material & Methods: We selected 425 samples of drinking water from primary schools based on pre-defined selection criteria. We used a Quantitative Microbial Risk Analysis using indicator organisms, i.e., E. coli, to predict the possible health risks of rotavirus. Data was entered and analyzed on SPSS version 26. The graphs were developed using Arc GIS version 3. Morbidity and mortality were predicted using the Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QAMRA) model. Results: Our data revealed that the highest daily risk of HRV-associated diarrhea amongst school children was 11 per 10,000 schoolchildren, resulting in 8.4% annual risk, and the minimum risk was estimated to be 1 in 10,000 children. The burden of diseases for rotavirus using the QAMRA model revealed the severity of the diarrhea. Majority of the children presented with mild diarrhea (86%) followed by severe, and the probability of death was less than <1%. The daily risk of HRV infection was highest (estimated to be 7 and 11%) in pupils of Southern Sindh, with an annual risk of 17.4% to 40%.
Conclusion: Our study concluded that the children in the primary schools of Sindh were exposed to poor drinking water quality. The surface water source poses the highest risk of HRV-related diarrhea to school children. Thus, it is highly recommended that point-of-use drinking water treatment systems be adopted. The water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) resources are interlinked, so each resource impacts the other; hence, schools urgently need to invest in providing adequate WASH facilities to stop enteric virus transmission through drinking water sources.
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