The number of children dying worldwide of diarrhea fell by a third between 2005 and 2015, researchers have found. The study says better access to clean water and sanitation is key, with fewer weak and malnourished children becoming infected.
New vaccines have also had a positive impact.
However, diarrhea is still the fourth-biggest killer of children globally, with almost 500,000 a year dying before their fifth birthday.
This figure could well be a significant under-estimate because of the lack of data in sub-Saharan Africa, where most cases occur.
Preventable and treatable Diarrhea is also indirectly responsible for large numbers of deaths, through exacerbating the effects of other diseases, such as pneumonia and measles.
The US researchers, who analyzed data from the new Global Burden of Disease study, found well over a third (42%) of deaths happen in Nigeria and India.
Diarrhoeal diseases, such as rotavirus and cholera, are spread by water contaminated with faeces. They are preventable and treatable.
Diarrhoea cases in 2015
2.39 billion episodes of diarrhoea
Almost half of those (957.5 million) involved children.
1.3 million deaths
Including 499,000 child deaths
The highest death rates were in Chad and Niger
Source: Lancet Infectious Diseases