Tahmina Parvin | Ismat Minhaj Uddin | Md Sazzadul Islam Bhuyian | Ronald Saxton | Fatema Zohura | Marzia Sultana | Fatema-Tuz Johura | Shirajum Monira | Md Tasdik Hasan | Nowshin Papri | Md Ahshanul Haque | Shwapon K. Biswas | David A. Sack | Jamie Perin | Munirul Alam | Christine Marie George
Date of Publication:
Tropical medicine & international health: TM & IH
This study aimed to characterise childhood mouthing and handling behaviours and to assess the association between hand‐to‐object and object‐to‐mouth contacts and diarrhoea prevalence in young children in urban Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Fifty five percent of caregivers reported that their child put a visibly dirty fomite (object or soil) in their mouth in the past week. Caregivers reported that 50% of children had mouthed visibly dirty objects, 26% had mouthed dirt, and 2% had mouthed faeces. Forty five percent of children were observed mouthing a visibly dirty fomite during structured observation, 40% of children were observed mouthing a visibly dirty object, 10% were observed mouthing soil, and one child (0.2%) was observed mouthing faeces. Mouthing of visibly dirty fomites was highest for children 12‐18 months of age with 69% of these children having caregiver reports and 54% having observed events. Children with caregiver reports of mouthing faeces had a significantly higher odds of diarrhoea over the subsequent month (Odds Ratio: 4.54; 95% Confidence Interval: 1.06, 19.48).
These findings demonstrate that mouthing of contaminated fomites among young children is frequent in urban environments in Bangladesh, and that mouthing faeces is associated with a significantly higher odds of diarrhoea. Interventions are urgently needed to protect young children from faecal pathogens in their play spaces.