Breast feeding and the risk of severe cholera in rural Bangladeshi children

John D. Clemens, David A. Sack, Jeffrey R. Harris, M. R. Khan, J. Chakraborty, Shahriar Chowdhury, M. R. Rao, Frederik P.L. Van Loon, Bonita F. Stanton, M. D. Yunus, M. D. Ali, M. Ansaruzzaman, Ann Mari Svennerholm, Jan Holmgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The association between breast feeding and the risk of severe cholera was examined in a case-control study of rural Bangladeshi children under 36 months of age who were studied in 1985-1986 during a field trial of killed oral cholera vaccines. A total of 116 cases who were treated for severe cholera were compared with 464 age-matched community controls without severe cholera. Overall, the odds ratio relating breast feeding to severe cholera (0.30, p < 0.0001) reflected a 70% reduction in the risk of severe cholera among breast-fed children. The estimated reduction of risk declined with age, but was clearly evident in children up to 30 months of age. Although the association between breast feeding and a reduced risk of severe cholera was not significantly greater in children of mothers who had received cholera vaccine than in children whose mothers had received placebo during the trial, maternal vaccination per se was suggestively associated with a reduced risk of severe cholera in their nonvaccinated children (odds ratio = 0.53, p = 0.05). These results indicate that breast feeding was associated with a substantial reduction of the risk of severe cholera and raise the possibility that vaccination of mothers may provide protection to their young children in endemic settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-411
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume131
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1990

Keywords

  • Breast feeding
  • Cholera
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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