Etiology of diarrhea by multiplex polymerase chain reaction among young children in the United Arab Emirates: a case-control study

Ahmed R. Alsuwaidi, Klaithem Al Dhaheri, Sania Al Hamad, Junu George, Judy Ibrahim, Ghassan Ghatasheh, Mohammed Issa, Suleiman Al-Hammadi, Hassib Narchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Little is known about the etiology of childhood diarrhea in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) especially after the introduction of rotavirus vaccines. This study aimed to identify gastrointestinal pathogens in children with diarrhea (cases) and the carriage rate of these pathogens in asymptomatic children (controls). Methods: Stool samples were collected from 203 cases and 73 controls who presented to two major hospitals in Al Ain city, UAE. Samples were analyzed with Allplex™ Gastrointestinal Full Panel Assay for common entero-pathogens. The association between diarrhea and the isolated pathogens was calculated in a multivariate logistic regression model. The adjusted attributable fractions (aAFs) were calculated for all pathogens significantly associated with cases. Results: At least one pathogen was identified in 87 samples (42.8%) from cases and 17 (23.3%) from controls (P < 0.001). Rotavirus, norovirus GII and adenovirus were significantly more prevalent in cases. Their aAFs with 95% ci are 0.95 (0.64, 1.00) for rotavirus, 0.86 (0.38, 0.97) for norovirus GII and 0.84 (0.29, 0.96) for adenovirus. None of the 13 bacteria tested for were more commonly found in the cases than in controls. Cryptosporidium spp. were more significantly detected in cases than in controls. Co-infections occurred in 27.9% of the children. Viruses and parasites were significantly more likely to occur together only in the cases. Conclusions: Multiplex PCR revealed high positivity rates in both cases and controls which demand a cautious interpretation. Rotavirus remains the main childhood diarrhea pathogen in UAE. Effective strategies are needed to better control rotavirus and other causative pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Attributable fractions
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Diarrhea
  • Multiplex PCR
  • Rotavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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