• Estimates of the duration of untreated acute malnutrition in children from Niger.

      Isanaka, S; Grais, R; Briend, A; Checchi, F; Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. sisanaka@hsph.harvard.edu (2011-04-15)
      Expected incidence of acute malnutrition is the most appropriate measure for projecting the needs of a nutritional treatment program over time in terms of staffing, food, and other treatments, but direct estimation of incidence is rarely feasible at the onset of an intervention. While incidence may be approximated as prevalence/average duration, ethical constraints preclude measurement of the duration of acute malnutrition in the absence of treatment. The authors used a compartmental model to estimate the duration of untreated moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in children aged 6-60 months. The model was informed by data from a community-based cohort of children in Niger followed from August 2006 to March 2007. Maximum likelihood estimates for the duration of untreated MAM, defined by weight-for-height z score and middle upper arm circumference, were 75-81 days and 101-116 days, respectively. The duration of untreated SAM, defined by weight-for-height z score, was 45 days. The duration of untreated MAM appears to have been shorter among children aged 6-35 months compared with those aged 36-60 months. Such estimates of the duration, and thus incidence, of untreated malnutrition can be used to improve projections of program needs and estimates of the global burden of acute malnutrition.
    • Treatment of severe malnutrition with 2-day intramuscular ceftriaxone vs 5-day amoxicillin.

      Dubray, C; Ibrahim, S A; Abdelmutalib, M; Guerin, P J; Dantoine, F; Belanger, F; Legros, D; Pinoges, L; Brown, V; Epicentre, Paris, France. (Maney Publishing, 2008-03)
      BACKGROUND: Systemic antibiotics are routinely prescribed for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). However, there is no consensus regarding the most suitable regimen. In a therapeutic feeding centre in Khartoum, Sudan, a randomised, unblinded, superiority-controlled trial was conducted, comparing once daily intramuscular injection with ceftriaxone for 2 days with oral amoxicillin twice daily for 5 days in children aged 6-59 months with SAM. METHODS: Commencing with the first measured weight gain (WG) following admission, the risk difference and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for children with a WG > or = 10 g/kg/day were calculated over a 14-day period. The recovery rate and case fatality ratio (CFR) between the two groups were also calculated. RESULTS: In an intention-to-treat analysis of 458 children, 53.5% (123/230) in the amoxicillin group and 55.7% (127/228, difference 2.2%, 95% CI -6.9-11.3) in the ceftriaxone group had a WG > or = 10 g/kg/day during a 14-day period. Recovery rate was 70% (161/230) in the amoxicillin group and 74.6% (170/228) in the ceftriaxone group (p=0.27). CFR was 3.9% (9/230) and 3.1% (7/228), respectively (p=0.67). Most deaths occurred within the 1st 2 weeks of admission. CONCLUSION: In the absence of severe complications, either ceftriaxone or amoxicillin is appropriate for malnourished children. However, in ambulatory programmes, especially where there are large numbers of admissions, ceftriaxone should facilitate the work of medical personnel.