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A population-based estimate of the substantial burden of diarrhoeal disease in the United States; FoodNet, 1996–2003

  • T. F. JONES (a1), M. B. McMILLIAN (a1), E. SCALLAN (a2), P. D. FRENZEN (a3), A. B. CRONQUIST (a4), S. THOMAS (a5) and F. J. ANGULO (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 August 2006

From 1996 to 2003, four 12-month population-based surveys were performed in FoodNet sites to determine the burden of diarrhoeal disease in the population. Acute diarrhoeal illness (ADI) was defined as [ges ]3 loose stools in 24 hours with impairment of daily activities or duration of diarrhoea >1 day. A total of 52840 interviews were completed. The overall weighted prevalence of ADI in the previous month was 5·1% (95% CI±0·3%), corresponding to 0·6 episodes of ADI per person per year. The average monthly prevalence of ADI was similar in each of the four survey cycles (range 4·5–5·2%). Rates of ADI were highest in those age <5 years. Of those with ADI, 33·8% (95% CI±2·7%) reported vomiting, 19·5% (95% CI±2·1%) visited a medical provider, and 7·8% (95% CI±1·4%) took antibiotics. Rates of ADI were remarkably consistent over time, and demonstrate the substantial burden placed on the health-care system.

Corresponding author
Communicable and Environmental Disease Services, Tennessee Department of Health, 4th Floor, Cordell Hull Bldg., 425 5th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37247, USA. (Email:
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The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and may not be attributed to the Economic Research Service or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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Epidemiology & Infection
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