124 patients with acute diarrhoea due to Vibrio cholerae or Escherichia coli were treated with either the standard sucrose-electrolyte solution or a cereal-based electrolyte solution, containing 30 g rice powder per litre and electrolytes as recommended by the World Health Organisation. The treatments were compared by measuring the rate of purging, change in body weight, serum specific gravity, urine output, and post-hydrolysis sugar content in the stool. The proportions of successfully treated patients in the rice-powder group were 80% for cholera patients and 88% for E. coli patients-no different from those in patients receiving the sucrose-electrolyte solution. Failure was due to rates of purging that exceeded the patient's ability to drink enough replacement solution. This study suggests that a rice-powder electrolyte solution is efficient and safe to use as a rehydrating oral fluid in acute diarrhoea.
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