The incidence of aetiology-specific diarrhoea and the pathogenicity of infectious agents in a birth cohort (n=252) in rural Bangladesh were determined. Stool specimens or rectal swabs were collected from diarrhoeal cases over two years and routinely on a monthly basis. Stool samples from children with diarrhoea were compared with stool samples from children without diarrhoea to calculate rates of isolation and pathogenicity of agents. In total, 1,750 stool specimens from diarrhoea patients and 5,679 stool specimens from children without diarrhoea were tested. An infectious agent was identified in 58% of the stool specimens from diarrhoea patients and 21.6% of the stool specimens from children without diarrhoea. The most commonly-isolated pathogens from all specimens were enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli
(ETEC), enteroadherent E. coli
, Campylobacter jejuni
, and rotavirus. ETEC (ST and LT-ST toxin), enterotoxigenic
, and rotavirus were associated more with disease than with asymptomatic infections. Aetiology-specific infections were associated with acute episodes. The isolated enteropathogens were essentially the same as those found in other tropical rural settings. Enterotoxigenic B. fragilis
was also identified as a pathogen. Ongoing vaccine efforts focusing on Shigella
, rotavirus, and ETEC would be useful.