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Zinc Treatment

Pills laying on a surfaceA study in Bangladesh showed that zinc supplementation significantly reduced the duration and severity of diarrhea in children suffering from cholera 1. The study was conducted with 179 children, 3-14 years old, who were admitted to a hospital within 24 hours of the onset of cholera symptoms. In the study, all children received antibiotics and rehydration therapy as needed, but those in the intervention group also received zinc supplementation. Children who received zinc supplementation had 8 fewer hours of diarrheal illness and 10% less diarrheal stool volume, on average.  Zinc has also been shown to have a similar effect in children with diarrhea caused by infections other than cholera, and is recommended for the treatment of pediatric diarrhea more generally 2. When available, supplementation (10-20 mg zinc per day) should be started immediately.


  1. Roy SK, Hossain MJ, Khatun W, Chakraborty B, Chowdhury S, Begum A, Mah-e-Muneer S, Shafique S, Khanam M, Chowdhury R. Zinc supplementation in children with cholera in Bangladesh: randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2008;336(7638):266-71.
  2. UNICEF/WHO. Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done [PDF - 68 pages]. 2009.