Faecal lactoferrin as a predictor of positive faecal culture in south Indian children with acute diarrhoea

Annals of Tropical Paediatrics
S VenkataramanV I Mathan


Faecal lactoferrin, an iron-based glycoprotein found concentrated in secondary granules of neutrophils, may serve as a surrogate marker of inflammation in the intestine. We evaluated the usefulness of faecal lactoferrin as a predictor of infection with invasive enteropathogens in 262 children with diarrhoea. Lactoferrin at a dilution of 1:50 had the highest sensitivity for detection not only of conventionally cultured invasive enteropathogens but also of all other enteropathogens. Neither individual clinical symptoms nor the identification of faecal leucocytes by microscopy significantly predicted isolation of invasive enteropathogens from the faeces of children with diarrhoea. Faecal lactoferrin is a simple test which showed promise in predicting which children with diarrhoea are likely to be infected with invasive pathogens and can be incorporated as a screening test before faecal cultures are undertaken in this population.


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