Introduction: Gastroenteritis is recognized as a serious public health problem in India. It is a syndrome that can be caused by different bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens. Indiscriminate use of antibacterial agents has resulted in the development of multidrug resistant organisms. A retrospective study was done to analyze the etiological spectrum of diarrhoea and to determine the antimicrobial resistance pattern of bacterial pathogens. Methodology: Fecal specimens from patients with acute or chronic diarrhoea were received prior antibiotic administration and processed for routine microscopy of parasites; culture, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and polymerase chain reaction for bacterial pathogens and latex agglutination for rotavirus. Results: Out of the 6043 stool samples collected during the period of Jan 2005-Dec 2013, 678 (11.2%) enteric pathogens were isolated. The predominant isolates were Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) (46.3%) followed by Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae and parasites. Certain unusual pathogens were also isolated. Among age wise distribution, Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) mainly Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) was isolated from <5 years of age. The majority of other enteric pathogens were isolated from the adult population. The enteric pathogens isolated showed resistance to multiple antibiotics. The resistance pattern observed during this period showed an overall increase in resistance to the antibiotics tested. Conclusion: The present study documents the overall role of etiological agents as causes of diarrhoea and indicates that the indiscriminate use of potent antibiotics can lead to acquisition of resistance to important therapeutic agents.
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