In a 27-month prospective study, Aeromonas spp. were isolated from 7.3% of children with diarrhea and from 2.2% of controls. In 32 patients with diarrhea, ranging in age from 1 to 27 months old, Aeromonas spp. were the only potential bacterial enteropathogens isolated. Principal symptoms of Aeromonas-associated diarrhea were vomiting, fever and bloody stools. Diarrhea was often self-limiting and lasted for 10 days or less in 90% of patients. No secondary spread of diarrhea among close contacts was observed and no clear-cut seasonal patterns of Aeromonas isolation were found. Aeromonas caviae was the most frequently isolated species in fecal samples of patients (24 of 29 isolates) as well as controls (5 of 7 isolates). Cholera toxin cross-reactive cytotoxic enterotoxin was produced by a vast majority of Aeromonas isolates, as compared to a non-cholera toxin cross-reactive cytotonic enterotoxin. In addition no significant correlation was observed between severity of the diarrheal disease and different Aeromonas or the quantity of enterotoxins produced. In our geographic area Aeromonas spp., and A. caviae in particular, seem to be an important and frequent cause of diarrhea in young children.
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