"They also found that organisms not widely believed to cause the disease, including Streptococcus and Granulicatella, correlated with the condition in their study."
New York, June 29 - In a finding that may prevent thousands of deaths, researchers have identified new micro organisms that may trigger diarrhoeal disease and others that may protect against it.
We were able to identify interactions between microbiota that were not previously observed, and we think that some of those interactions may actually help prevent the onset of severe diarrhoea, said lead researcher O. Colin Stine, professor of epidemiology at University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US.
A better understanding of these interactions may lead to possible dietary interventions.
Moderate to severe diarrhoea (MSD) is a major cause of childhood mortality in developing countries and ranks as one of the top four causes of deaths among young children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The researchers used a technique called high-throughput 16S rRNA genomic sequencing to examine both good and bad microbiota in samples taken from 992 children in Bangladesh, Gambia, Kenya and Mali under the age of five who were suffering from MSD.
The researchers identified statistically significant disease associations with several organisms already implicated in diarrhoeal disease, such as members of the Escherichia/Shigella genus and Campylobacter jejuni.
They also found that organisms not widely believed to cause the disease, including Streptococcus and Granulicatella, correlated with the condition in their study.
In addition, the study revealed that the Prevotella genus and Lactobacillus ruminis may play a protective role against diarrhoea. The findings were published in the journal Genome Biology.