Who is most at risk (morbidity and mortality) from acute diarrheal illness?
The very young, older adults, and the immune compromised are most at risk for morbidity and mortality from acute diarrheal illness. Other risk factors include travel to developing countries, those who work in or attend a daycare, and those who are receiving or have recently received antibiotics, although among the young and healthy mortality is extremely rare.
Children younger than the age of 5 in developing countries, mainly sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, suffer disproportionately from diarrheal disease. Acute and persistent diarrheal infections are a major source of pediatric mortality and morbidity. Annually, 800,000 pediatric deaths are attributable to diarrheal diseases.
Meanwhile, travelers’ diarrhea affects upward of 20 million people per year and is the most common illness to affect travelers.