Why do children commonly get diarrhoea?

Because they are exposed to the viruses and bacteria which cause diarrhoea. Their food and water may also be contaminated by these organisms. Infections which cause diarrhoea are particularly common:

  • In infants who are bottle-fed rather than breastfed
  • Where there is not a supply of clean water to mix formula
  • When feeding bottles and teats cannot be properly cleaned
  • In communities without adequate toilet facilities
  • When flies are common
  • When personal hygiene is poor, especially no handwashing before eating

Diarrhoea is usually due to contaminated food or water.

Faeces left on the open ground or washed into the water supply by rain, pit toilets that overflow, and vegetables ‘freshened’ with contaminated water are all common sources of infection. Infected food (e.g. eggs and shellfish) can also result in diarrhoea.

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