Chapter 5.3 Persistent diarrhoea

Persistent diarrhoea is diarrhoea, with or without blood, that begins acutely and lasts for ≥ 14 days. When there is some or severe dehydration, persistent diarrhoea is classified as ‘severe’.

The following guidelines are for children with persistent diarrhoea who are not severely malnourished. Severely malnourished children with severe persistent diarrhoea require hospitalization and specific treatment, as described in Chapter 7 (section 7.5.4).

In areas where HIV infection is highly prevalent, suspect HIV infection if there are other suggestive clinical signs, and assess the child for HIV infection and do an appropriate HIV test (see Chapter 8). Perform stool microscopy for parasites such as Isospora and Cryptosporidium.