Serum Zinc Levels in Thai Children with Acute Diarrhoea SC01-SC04
Dr. Sanguansak Rerksuppaphol,
Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Srinakhariwirot University, 62 Mo 7, Rangsit-Nakorn Nayok Rd., Nakorn Nayok-26120, Thailand.
Introduction: Diarrhoea remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries. Zinc has been recommended by the WHO for the prophylaxis and treatment of acute diarrhoea. However, data on zinc levels in children remains scarce.
Aim: To assess serum zinc levels in children admitted with acute diarrhoea to the paediatric unit of Srinakharinwirot University Hospital, Thailand.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in children admitted to hospital with the diagnosis of acute diarrhoea, between July 2016 and February 2017. Children < 60 months, with watery and/or mucous stool >3 times within previous 24 hours were included. Anthropometric parameters were recorded. Serum electrolytes, Complete Blood Count (CBC) and serum zinc levels were measured. Children with serum zinc level lower than thresholds as recommended by the International Zinc Nutrition Consultation Group criteria and time of collection were defined as zinc deficient. The results were descriptively presented as mean and standard deviation, median and Interquartile Range (IQR), or frequency and percentage. Pearson’s chi-square or Fisher-exact test was used to compare proportions between groups, whereas, Student’s t-test or Mann-Whitney U-test was used to verify the differences of continuous variables.
Results: Fifty children with acute diarrhoea were included in the study (50% female). The median duration of diarrhoea prior to admission was 24.0 hours (IQR, 12.0-72.0 hours) and the frequency of diarrhoeal episodes in preceding 24 hours was 4 times (IQR, 3-6 times). Mean serum zinc concentration at admission was 69.2±18.5µg/dL. A total of 22 (44%) children had zinc deficiency. There were no significant differences in demographic and clinical characteristics between patients with normal zinc levels and those with zinc deficiency.
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of low zinc levels in Thai children with acute diarrhoea. More efforts are needed towards improved coverage of zinc supplementation.