Zinc reduces pneumonia by 41%, and diarrhea by up to 25%

December 06, 1999

Below are highlights of a pooled analysis of 10 randomized, controlled trials to be published in the Journal of Paediatrics on December 6, 1999. Further information will be available on the CHR website http://ih.jhsph.edu/chr/chr.htm as of 12/07, or is available upon request.

Pneumonia and diarrhea claim the lives of millions of children each year. But now, scientists from The World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health have found that dietary zinc supplementation reduces pneumonia incidence by 41% and diarrhea by as much as 25% according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics (Mosby) on December 6, 1999.

To provide a complete and accurate summary of the effects of zinc supplementation on infectious diseases, Robert E. Black and Sunil Sazawal on behalf of the Zinc Investigators' Collaborative (ZINC) Group conducted a pooled analysis of original data from all identified published and unpublished trials. Seven continuous and 3 short-course trials were included in the 2 sets of pooled analyses. No significant variations in the effects were seen in the subgroups of children stratified by age, gender, and weight and no significant variations were seen between short-course zinc supplementation and continuous, or long-term supplementation.

The effect of zinc supplementation on the prevention of diarrhea compares favorably with other interventions including clean water and sanitation or breastfeeding, and zinc has a greater preventive effect for pneumonia than any other current intervention. Zinc supplementation can now be incorporated into child health programs around the world to help reduce the millions of preventable deaths from these diseases.

Zinc experts include:
If you would like further information about zinc research, or to arrange interviews with authors, please contact Laura M. Kelley at: (410) 614-5439. FAX: (410) 955-7159. E-mail: lkelley@jhsph.edu .

Child Health Research Project

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