Vijay Anand, Peter Milano, John R Allegra and Kuruvilla Thomas
Objectives: To test our hypothesis that admissions for diarrheal illness to a southern Indian hospital would be highest in the month with the most rainfall. Methods: Design: Retrospective cohort. Setting: Community hospital in Chennai, southern India. Population: All pediatric patients (less than 16 years of age) admitted to the hospital from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2004. Protocol: We selected diagnoses associated with acute diarrhea from all admitted pediatric patients, and used Chi square and the Student's t-tests to test for statistical significance, with alpha set at 0.05. Results: Of the 3,660 pediatric admissions, there were 740 admissions for diarrheal illness. Of those 740, the average age was 1.8 years and 47% were female. There was non-uniformity by month for diarrheal illness admissions using Chi square (p<0.001). The month with the greatest rainfall, November, had the highest admissions for diarrheal illness: 2.3 times more (95% CI 2.0-2.6, p<0.001) than the mean for the other 11 months. Conclusions: The number of pediatric admissions for diarrheal illness is highest in the rainiest month. We speculate that this may be due to contamination of the water supply and recommend that an educational program targeting parents be instituted before the rainy season.