Extent of problem

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  • People of all ages can get diarrhea.
  • Diarrheal diseases are the single greatest cause of illness and death all over the world. In 1993, approximately 3.2 million children below 5 years died from diarrhea.
  • In India, diarrheal disease is a major public health problem among children below age of 5 years. In health institutions, up to 33% of total children admission are due to diarrheal illness and up to 17% deaths in hospitalized children are diarrhea related.
  • On an average, a child below 3 years of age experience 3 episodes of diarrhea every year and an adult experience 1 episode per year.

Diarrhea is also an important cause of malnutrition (undernourishment) in children.