Vitamins & Minerals

ISSN: 2376-1318

Open Access

Levels of Serum Zinc, Copper and Copper/Zinc Ratio in Patients with Diarrhea and HIV Infection in Ethiopia


Bemnet Amare, Ketema Tafess, Feleke Moges, Beyene Moges, Tomoki Yabutani, Fusao Ota and Afework Kassu

Introduction: Zinc and copper are essential for normal human development and functioning of the body. They have been implicated to play important roles in immuno-physiologic functions. Studies assessing the interactions between diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS and micronutrient status are too few in Ethiopia, as in other sub-Saharan Africa where morbidities from diarrheal diseases and HIV/AIDS are serious health problems. Hence, the present study was undertaken to investigate the level of zinc and copper as well as zinc/copper ratio among HIV positive diarrheic patients with sex and age matched HIV negative diarrheic patients.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted amongst 206 diarrheic patients (109 HIV seropositive and 97HIV seronegative) patients. Concentration of serum level of zinc and copper was determined by inductively coupledplasma-mass spectrometer. Reference intervals were defined according to recommended guidelines.

Results: Mean serum zinc level were not significantly different between diarrheic patients with (68.13 ± 44.53μg/dL) and without (62.39 ± 43.64) HIV co-infection. Deficiency of zinc was seen in 69.7% and 80.4%% of diarrheicpatients with and without HIV co-infection, respectively. HIV infected diarrheic patients with shigellosis (100%) and with
intestinal parasites (63.3%) were deficient in serum zinc level. Unlike zinc, no diarrheic patients with or without HIVco-infection were found significantly deficient in serum copper levels.

Conclusion: Zinc deficiency is a severe public health problem in Gondar, Ethiopia, among diarrheic patients irrespective of HIV co-infection. Further studies are required to establish the role of these low concentrations in host defense against diarrheic patients with or without HIV, so that appropriate and beneficial strategies for micronutrient
supplementation can be planned.


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