Prevalence of Astroviruses in children under five years with acute diarrhoea at the Kenyatta National Hospital
Background: Diarrhoea IS a common childhood malady in developing countries but a majority of cases remain aetiologically undetermined. As such, the epidemiology of childhood diarrhoeal illness is not fully understood. This creates gaps in the attempts to institute prevention and control interventions. Objective: To determine the prevalence of astroviruses among children below five years with acute diarrhoea. Methodology: This study was nested within a cross-sectional study titled 'Viral etiology of gastrointestinal infections in children in Nairobi'. The study population comprised of children who were below five years of age who presented to the Kenyatta National hospital paediatric outpatient clinic. The sample size was 107 participants derived from the primary study's sample population; these participants were selected through random sampling. Stool samples were collected from these participants and molecular methods were used to determine the prevalence of astroviruses. Additionally, a structured case report form was used to extract the data from the records of the primary study. The data obtained was then analysed using SPSS software. Results: The overall prevalence of astrovirus in children below five years with diarrhoea was found to be 3.7%. The highest prevalence was recorded in the age group between seven and twenty four months, among those who resided in urban areas and among those who consumed tap water. However, in spite of this observed trend no statistically significant association was found between astrovirus prevalence with age, sex, area of residence or water source in this study. Conclusion: The prevalence of astrovirus in this age group in this study was found to be lower than what was found by a previous study carried in Kenya, but was comparable with other studies in Africa such as Tunisia and Madagascar.