Faecal alpha 1 antitrypsin was measured in two groups of children with diarrhoea aged 6 months to 6 years during the acute and recovery stages of the illness. Group 1 comprised 19 children with a history of measles in the two weeks preceding admission to hospital. In this group there were six cases of Shigella species, six enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, and five rotavirus, and two did not yield an aetiologic agent. Group 2 comprised 15 children with diarrhoea only. In this group there were five cases of Shigella species, five enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, and five rotavirus. Children with rotavirus diarrhoea belonging to both groups showed a transient high faecal clearance of alpha 1 antitrypsin during the acute stage. Post measles cases of diarrhoea showed significantly higher faecal clearance of alpha 1 antitrypsin than group 2 subjects in both the acute and recovery stages. The faecal clearance of alpha 1 antitrypsin in both groups was significantly higher during the acute stage compared with the recovery stage. Highest faecal clearances of alpha 1 antitrypsin were observed in children with post measles shigellosis in the acute stage and they also had persistently raised concentrations, thus suggesting prolonged protein losing enteropathy.
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