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The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
ISSN: 1606-0997
EISSN: 1606-0997
Vol. 31, No. s1, 2013, pp. 3-16
Bioline Code: hn13067
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 31, No. s1, 2013, pp. 3-16

 en Estimating the Burden of Acute Gastrointestinal Illness: A Pilot Study of the Prevalence and Underreporting in Saint Lucia, Eastern Caribbean
Gabriel, Owen O.; Jaime, Alina; Mckensie, Martin; Auguste, Ava; Pérez, Enrique & Indar, Lisa


Saint Lucia was the first country to conduct a burden of illness study in the Caribbean to determine the community prevalence and underreporting of acute gastroenteritis (AGE). A retrospective cross-sectional population survey on AGE-related illness was administered to a random sample of residents of Saint Lucia in 20 April–16 May 2008 and 6-13 December 2009 to capture the high- and low-AGE season respectively. Of the selected 1,150 individuals, 1,006 were administered the survey through face-to-face interviews (response rate 87.4%). The overall monthly prevalence of AGE was 3.9%. The yearly incidence rate was 0.52 episodes/person-year. The age-adjusted monthly prevalence was 4.6%. The highest monthly prevalence of AGE was among children aged <5 years (7.5%) and the lowest in persons aged 45-64 years (2.6%). The average number of days an individual suffered from diarrhoea was 3.8 days [range 1-21 day(s)]. Of the reported AGE cases, only seven (18%) sought medical care; however, 83% stayed at home due to the illness [(range 1-16 day(s), mean 2.5]; and 26% required other individuals to take care of them. The estimated underreporting of syndromic AGE and laboratory-confirmed foodborne disease pathogens was 81% and 99% respectively during the study period. The economic cost for treating syndromic AGE was estimated at US$ 3,892.837 per annum. This was a pilot study on the burden of illness (BOI) in the Caribbean. The results of the study should be interpreted within the limitations and challenges of this study. Lessons learnt were used for improving the implementation procedures of other BOI studies in the Caribbean.

Acute gastroenteritis; Burden of illness; Diarrhoea; Foodborne pathogens; Underreporting; Saint Lucia

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