ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

A Study on the Epidemiology and Aetiology of Acute Gastroenteritis in Adult Patients Presenting at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tirana, Albania
Gentian P. Stroni 1, Majlinda M. Dhimolea 2, Silva F. Bino 2, Pëllumb S. Pipero 1, Dhimiter V. Kraja 1, Suela Y. Sallavaci 3
1Infectious Diseases Hospital, University Hospital Centre “Mother Theresa”, Tirana, Albania
2Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania
3University Hospital Centre “Mother Theresa”, Tirana, Albania
DOI : 10.5152/balkanmedj.2014.13142
Pages : 196-201


Background: Acute gastroenteritis remains a common cause of hospital emergency room visits in Albania. However, the aetiology of severe gastroenteritis leading to hospitalization in adults frequently remains unclear.

Aims: Our objective was to study the epidemiology and causes of community-acquired, acute gastroenteritis in adult patients presenting to hospital.

Study Design: Cross sectional study.

Methods: A prospective study was conducted from January 2010 to January 2012, among patients ≥15 years old with community-acquired gastroenteritis presenting to the emergency room of the University Hospital “Mother Theresa” in Tirana, Albania. Stool samples and rectal swabs were collected from the patients for microbiological testing.

Results: The median age of the study patients was 33 (15-88) years and 577 (58%) were females. The median age of males was 35 (15-87) years. The vast majority of cases occurred in urban area (849, 85%), p<0.01. Patients were admitted throughout the year with peak admissions for patients infected by bacterial pathogens in summer and those affected by viral pathogens in autumn. A total of 917 (91.7%) patients underwent a laboratory examination. The overall isolation rate was 51%. Bacterial pathogens were found in 29%, viral pathogens in 19% and protozoal pathogens in 2.5% of patients. No aetiological agent or other cause of acute diarrhoea was found in 449 (49%) patients. Twenty-nine (3.2%) patients were hospitalized.

Conclusion: Despite extensive laboratory investigations, enteropathogens were detected in only 51% of adult patients who presented to the hospital ER with acute gastroenteritis. Viral infections ranked as the second most common cause of gastroenteritis in adults.

Keywords : Aetiology, diarrhoea, enteropathogens, epidemiology
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