Sugar chromatography was performed on urine and faecal specimens obtained at admission from 482 children under the age of five years admitted to hospital because of acute gastroenteritis. The sensitivity of the chromatography was such that 2 μg of the various sugars could be detected, which is equivalent to 5 mg per g of stool, and this level was considered a positive result. Fifty-nine (12·2%) children without any clinically apparent milk intolerance had sugar chromatographic abnormalities, in 32 of whom a disaccharide was found in the urine and/or faeces. Twenty-one children, all under the age of nine months, developed a relapse of their diarrhoea when full strength milk was reintroduced. In only one of these cases, a two-month-old boy with sucrose in his urine, was a disaccharide found on chromatography.
It is concluded that testing for disaccharides in urine or faeces by chromatography in children with acute gastroenteritis is of no value in predicting who is likely to suffer from clinical relapse when milk feeding is subsequently recommenced.
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