Soil ingestion is associated with child diarrhea in an urban slum of Nairobi, Kenya

Valerie Bauza, R. M. Ocharo, Thanh H. Nguyen, Jeremy S. Guest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diarrhea is a leading cause of mortality in children under 5 years of age. We conducted a crosssectional study of 54 children aged 3 months to 5 years old in Kibera, an urban slum in Nairobi, Kenya, to assess the relationship between caregiver-reported soil ingestion and child diarrhea. Diarrhea was significantly associated with soil ingestion (adjusted odds ratio = 9.9, 95% confidence interval = 2.1-47.5). Soil samples from locations near each household were also collected and analyzed for Escherichia coli and a human-associated Bacteroides fecal marker (HF183). Escherichia coli was detected in 100% of soil samples (mean 5.5 log colony forming units E. coli per gram of dry soil) and the Bacteroides fecal marker HF183 was detected in 93% of soil samples. These findings suggest that soil ingestion may be an important transmission pathway for diarrheal disease in urban slum settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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