The prevention of infant mortality is one of the most important medical questions of the day. More babies die every year from diarrheal diseases than from any other one cause. These diseases are largely preventable, and in most cases respond to proper treatment, whereas many improperly treated patients die. It is, therefore, essential in any affort to reduce infant mortality that all physicians dealing with children should have as clear an idea as possible of these conditions.
Any diarrhea is caused by increased intestinal peristalsis. This increased peristalsis is caused by some irritant acting on the intestinal mucous membrane, and it is best to classify diarrheal conditions according to the type of irritant that is causing the trouble. Broadly speaking, according to this method of classification the diarrheal diseases of infancy may be divided into three groups: (1) mechanical diarrhea, due to mechanical irritation; (2) fermentative diarrhea, due to chemical