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Dr. Mamta Gupta,
"It gives me great pleasure to be associated with JCDR, since last 2-3 years. Since then I have authored, co-authored and reviewed about 25 articles in JCDR. I thank JCDR for giving me an opportunity to improve my own skills as an author and a reviewer.
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An yearly reward for the best article authored can also incentivize the authors. Though the process of finding the best article will be not be very easy. I do not know how reviewing process can be improved. If an article is being reviewed by two reviewers, then opinion of one can be communicated to the other or the final opinion of the editor can be communicated to the reviewer if requested for. This will help one’s reviewing skills.
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Aug 2018

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Thanking you
With sincere regards
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey, M.S., M. Ch., FAIS
Associate Professor,
Department of Paediatric Surgery, Gandhi Medical College & Associated
Kamla Nehru & Hamidia Hospitals Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462 001 (India)
On May 11,2011

Dr. Shankar P.R.

"On looking back through my Gmail archives after being requested by the journal to write a short editorial about my experiences of publishing with the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), I came across an e-mail from Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor, in March 2007, which introduced the new electronic journal. The main features of the journal which were outlined in the e-mail were extensive author support, cash rewards, the peer review process, and other salient features of the journal.
Over a span of over four years, we (I and my colleagues) have published around 25 articles in the journal. In this editorial, I plan to briefly discuss my experiences of publishing with JCDR and the strengths of the journal and to finally address the areas for improvement.
My experiences of publishing with JCDR: Overall, my experiences of publishing withJCDR have been positive. The best point about the journal is that it responds to queries from the author. This may seem to be simple and not too much to ask for, but unfortunately, many journals in the subcontinent and from many developing countries do not respond or they respond with a long delay to the queries from the authors 1. The reasons could be many, including lack of optimal secretarial and other support. Another problem with many journals is the slowness of the review process. Editorial processing and peer review can take anywhere between a year to two years with some journals. Also, some journals do not keep the contributors informed about the progress of the review process. Due to the long review process, the articles can lose their relevance and topicality. A major benefit with JCDR is the timeliness and promptness of its response. In Dr Jain's e-mail which was sent to me in 2007, before the introduction of the Pre-publishing system, he had stated that he had received my submission and that he would get back to me within seven days and he did!
Most of the manuscripts are published within 3 to 4 months of their submission if they are found to be suitable after the review process. JCDR is published bimonthly and the accepted articles were usually published in the next issue. Recently, due to the increased volume of the submissions, the review process has become slower and it ?? Section can take from 4 to 6 months for the articles to be reviewed. The journal has an extensive author support system and it has recently introduced a paid expedited review process. The journal also mentions the average time for processing the manuscript under different submission systems - regular submission and expedited review.
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Overall, the publishing process with JCDR has been smooth, quick and relatively hassle free and I can recommend other authors to consider the journal as an outlet for their work."

Dr. P. Ravi Shankar
KIST Medical College, P.O. Box 14142, Kathmandu, Nepal.
On April 2011

Dear team JCDR, I would like to thank you for the very professional and polite service provided by everyone at JCDR. While i have been in the field of writing and editing for sometime, this has been my first attempt in publishing a scientific paper.Thank you for hand-holding me through the process.

Dr. Anuradha
On Jan 2020

Important Notice

Original article / research
Year : 2022 | Month : May | Volume : 16 | Issue : 5 | Page : SC15 - SC18 Full Version

Effect of Bacterial Diarrhoea on Serum Zinc Levels in Children with Special Reference to Different Bacterial Pathogens: A Cross-sectional Study

Published: May 1, 2022 | DOI:
Udochikwuka Patience Ikejiaku, Ifeoma Anochie, Emeka Nwolisa, Francis Iregbu, Ifeyinwa Blessing Amamilo

1. Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. 2. Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital Port-Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria. 3. Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. 4. Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. 5. Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

Correspondence Address :
Dr. Udochikwuka Patience Ikejiaku,
Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.


Introduction: Diarrhoea significantly leads to morbidity and mortality in under-five children, particularly in developing countries. Reduced serum zinc levels in acute non infectious diarrhoea has an impact on the frequency, severity and duration. However, evidence is still evolving on the status of zinc level in bacterial diarrhoea.

Aim: To assess serum zinc level in bacterial diarrhoea and compare the serum zinc level in children with the different bacterial pathogens.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Department of Paediatrics at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, from August 2015 to February 2016, among 201 children aged 6 to 59 months with diarrhoea. Stool specimens were isolated for bacteria, using conventional culture techniques, while serum zinc levels were determined using atomic absorption spectrometry. Serum zinc level <65 μg/dL was regarded as zinc deficiency. The data collected was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19.0.

Results: Out of 201, 58 (28.9%) of the children with diarrhoea had bacteria in the stool. The most common organism isolated was Escherichia coli (33,16.4%) followed by Salmonella (13, 6.5%). All of the children with positive stool culture, irrespective of the type of microbial agent, had zinc deficiency with significant association between infective diarrhoea and zinc deficiency (χ2=15.437; p-value=0.004). Children with shigella diarrhoea had the lowest mean serum zinc level, compared to other bacterial agents (33.6±4.4 μg/dL, p-value <0.001).

Conclusion: Bacterial pathogens contribute significantly to the cause of diarrhoea in under-five Nigerian children, and are significantly associated with zinc deficiency. Thus, reinforcing the need for zinc supplementation and food fortification programs within the population, and maybe for longer in children with identified bacterial diarrhoea.


Acute diarrhoea, Bacterial pathogen, Children, Dysentery, Persistent diarrhoea, Zinc deficiency

Worldwide, diarrhoeal diseases are reported as the leading cause of mortality among children aged five years and below (1). Despite being preventable and treatable, diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under-five years old, and is responsible for killing about 525,000 children every year, especially in developing countries where poor sanitation and lack of potable water supply are majorly contributory (1). In Africa, Asia, and South America, diarrhoea accounts for one in eight deaths of under-five yearly, with an estimated 16% of children’s deaths in Nigeria annually (2),(3).

Bacterial pathogens account for approximately 38% of mortalities resulting from childhood diarrhoea, contributing to the high burden of the disease (4). Studies have documented Escherichia coli as the most implicated bacterial pathogen associated with infective diarrhoea, with upto 41.4% prevalence in South-eastern Nigeria (5),(6). Other bacterial organisms isolated with variable prevalence depending on region comprise Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Campylobacter jejuni and Vibrio cholera (5),(6). Bacterial diarrhoea have been associated with low socio-economic class, malnutrition and a deteriorating environment; and greatly puts children at risk of macronutient and micronutrient malnutrition (7).

Zinc has been recognised as an essential micronutrient in human health (8). Zinc is important in maintaining the immune system, acts as an antioxidant and also helps in tissue repair growth and reproduction (8). Furthermore, zinc is a co-factor for the hormone thymulin which promotes T-cell function and proliferation of CD8 cells, thereby, aiding increase in cytokine release (9),(10). Additionally, zinc has been documented to have antibacterial properties hence its proposed effectiveness in children with infective diarrhoea (11),(12).

Diarrhoea reduces the net absorption of zinc as a result of rapid intestinal transit and destruction of the absorptive villous mucosa while zinc deficiency reduces absorption of water and electrolytes, as well as, clearance of aetiologic pathogens, thus prolonging the resolution of diarrhoea episodes (13). These mechanisms are worse in bacterial diarrhoea, where diarrhoea is caused primarily by elaborating enterotoxins (which also requires the organisms to adhere to the surface of the intestinal cell), and by invading the intestinal mucosa, both of which increase intestinal secretion of water, electrolytes and zinc (14). Documented evidence have shown reduced levels of zinc in acute diarrhoea strengthening the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of zinc supplementation to reduce morbidity and mortality from acute diarrhoea but not much is known about zinc levels in bacterial diarrhoea (15),(16),(17),(18).

Hence, the study aimed to assess the serum zinc levels in the children with bacterial diarrhoea, compare the serum zinc level in children with the different bacterial pathogens as well as the different types of diarrhoea.

Material and Methods

This cross-sectional study was conducted in Department of Paediatrics at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, from August 2015 to February 2016, including 201 children aged 6 to 59 months with diarrhoea. Imo State has a population projected to have increased to 5.11 million (19). Owerri is the capital of Imo State with 401,873 people living in the city. The residents are predominantly farmers and traders Imo State (19). The Paediatric Department includes the Emergency Paediatric Unit (EPU), the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), the Children’s Ward and the Children’s Outpatient Clinic (CHOP).

Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Ethics Committee of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri (Ref:017868) and study informed written consent was obtained from the parents/guardian of the enrolled children. Diarrhoea was defined as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual (15).

Inclusion criteria: Children aged 6-59 months with diarrhoea whose parents gave consent were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria: Those who were on zinc tablets within two weeks of the study were excluded from the study.

Sample size calculation: The sample size was calculated using the formula below:

n=minimum sample size,
z=normal standard deviation set at 1.96 which corresponds to the 95% confidence interval,
p=prevalence of zinc deficiency in children with diarrhoea. In this study, the prevalence rate was considered to be 50%, q=1-p,
d = degree of accuracy desired (in this study, an observed difference of 0.10 or more was considered significant at the 0.05 level)


n=2 (1.96) (1.96) (0.50) (1-0.50) (0.10)2
n=(7.6832×0.25) 0.01
n=192 (minimum sample size),
Allowing 10% non response=19,
Hence, final sample size was 211.


The sampling method was consecutive and children who met the inclusion criteria were recruited. Subjects were recruited from the EPU, CHOP and the Children’s Ward until the calculated sample size was achieved. Two resident doctors were trained by the researcher on collecting data using the questionnaire, collection of samples for serum zinc and stool microscopy/culture before commencement of study. Structured questionnaires were administered by the research team to obtain information including age and gender. Socio-economic class was determined using the method proposed by Oyedeji GA (20).

Sample collection: After obtaining consent and proper disinfecting, 3 mL of venous blood was collected from the antecubital vein of each study participant. The sample was put into a prelabelled sterile anticoagulant free bottle that had been made free of trace elements and later analysed using Varian AA240 Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Serum zinc level of less than 65 μg/dL was regarded as zinc deficiency.

Fresh faecal samples were collected in a prelabelled sterile screw cap bottle. Samples were stored at 4oC until they were analysed. For the culture, faecal samples were emulsified in sterile peptone water and a loopful was inoculated on Xylose Lysine Deoxycholate (XLD), MacConkey (MCA) and Salmonella-Shigella Agar plates. These were incubated overnight at 37oC and read the next day.

Statistical Analysis

The data collected was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19.0. The mean and standard deviation of quantitative variables were determined while categorical variables were summarised using percentages. Chi-square (χ2) and Fisher’s-exact where necessary were used to assess relationships between the categorical variables. The student’s t-test was used to compare the mean of two variables, p-values <0.05 were regarded as significant.


A total of 211 under-five children were recruited into the study, but only 201 samples were analysed. Ten children were excluded because their samples spilled.

Socio-demographic parameters: (Table/Fig 1) shows the socio-demographic distribution of the study population. The mean age of the children was 17.6±11.8 months. Children between the ages of 6-12 months had the highest prevalence of diarrhoea accounting for 92 (45.8%) of cases. Males had the greater proportion (109, 54.2%).

Bacterial isolates of the stool of children with diarrhoea: Out of total 201, 58 (28.9%) of the children with diarrhoea had microorganisms in the stool. (Table/Fig 2) shows that the most common organism isolated was Escherichia coli in 33 (16.4%) of subjects.

Prevalence of zinc deficiency according to bacterial isolates: The relationship between the presence of bacterial microorganisms in the stool and zinc deficiency in children with diarrhoeal disease is shown in (Table/Fig 3). All (100%) of the children with positive stool culture irrespective of the type of microbial agent had zinc deficiency. There was a significant association between infective diarrhoea and zinc deficiency (χ2=15.437; p-value=0.004).

Relationship between serum zinc level and bacterial isolates in the stool: Children with bacterial isolate in stool had significantly lower serum zinc levels when compared to children without bacterial isolates in their stool (p-value <0.001). Among the children with bacterial isolates in their stool, those with Shigella had the lowest level of serum zinc followed by those infected with E. coli (Table/Fig 4).


In the current study, 28.9% of the participants had bacterial diarrhoea. This finding is similar to another study from India that reported 25.6% prevalence (21). This underscores the need to screen children with diarrhoea for possible bacterial aetiology, given that viral causes of diarrhoea are known to be more common and the use of antibiotics is not recommended as part of the initial management of diarrhoea, except in cases of dysentery (15),(21). Higher prevalence of 73.3%, 41.4% and 61.1% respectively were reported by researchers in Ilorin, North Central Nigeria, Enugu, South East Nigeria and in Nicaragua. This reflects that bacterial pathogen constitute a significant burden to the aetiology of acute diarrhoea, particularly in low-income countries where factors including poverty, malnutrition, lack of potable water, poor sanitation and hygiene promote the spread of theses bacterial infections (6),(22),(23),(24). However, the difference in this prevalence may reflect the epidemiological variations of organisms and possibly the impact of the socio-economic levels of the population within these localities.

All children with positive bacterial isolates in stool irrespective of the type of bacteria had zinc deficiency. Also, children with infective diarrhoea had significantly low levels of zinc. These findings have been corroborated by other researchers too (22),(26),(27). The finding may be explained by the fact that children with bacterial diarrhoea are more likely to have persistent diarrhoea and dysentery which increases the loss of zinc in stool, and are more likely to have fever with increased metabolic demand for micronutrients including zinc (25). With existing zinc deficiency, there is increased susceptibility and severity of gastrointestinal infections which distorts the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract and worsens the risks and complications of diarrhoea (12). It is therefore important to maintain an optimal level of serum zinc in children with bacterial diarrhoea by supplemention.

Among children with bacterial isolates in their stool, those with Shigella had significantly the lowest level of serum zinc when compared to their counterparts that had Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Coliforms isolated from the stools. This agrees with what was observed among under-five children in Iran and Ilorin, Nigeria (22),(26). The fact that Shigella causes more invasive gastrointestinal disease than the other organisms, which leads to more damage to the intestinal mucosa and greater loss of fluid and micronutrients including zinc in the stool may explain this finding (28). Whether higher doses and longer duration of zinc supplementation should be considered for differing isolated enteropathogens of diarrhoea is a question that further research will answer to explore the beneficial effects from the current strategy of zinc supplementation with respect to isolated enteropathogens of diarrhoea.


Serotyping of the types of Escherichia coli and other types of coliforms could have contributed to the research but was not done.


This study showed that zinc deficiency occurred consistently in all children with diarrhoea caused by all the cultured bacterial pathogens. Consequently, this may indicate the need for longer zinc supplementation in children with identified bacterial diarrhoea. However, given that serum zinc levels were significantly different across the isolated bacteria. Further studies are needed to understand the implication of this finding on zinc supplementation.


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DOI and Others

DOI: 10.7860/JCDR/2022/55234.16372

Date of Submission: Jan 25, 2022
Date of Peer Review: Feb 09, 2022
Date of Acceptance: Mar 17, 2022
Date of Publishing: May 01, 2022

• Financial or Other Competing Interests: None
• Was Ethics Committee Approval obtained for this study? Yes
• Was informed consent obtained from the subjects involved in the study? Yes
• For any images presented appropriate consent has been obtained from the subjects. NA

• Plagiarism X-checker: Jan 31, 2022
• Manual Googling: Feb 24, 2022
• iThenticate Software: Apr 28, 2022 (19%)

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