Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2020


Diarrhea is a leading cause of death worldwide because a lack thereof in household sanitization exposes humans to high concentrations of pathogenic Escherichia coli. In 2016, the University of New Mexico’s Nepal Study Center collected cross-sectional survey data using proportional random sampling on three communities in Western Nepal. Structural and parameter learning estimation and approximate inference of Bayesian networks studied diarrheagenic E. coli exposure while incorporating participation in sanitary behaviors, access to sanitary built-in environments, and other human characteristics. Of the reported sickness, hand washing resulted in a 20 percent decrease, water treatment 8 percent, and both 28 percent. Of the positive tests for E. coli, flush toilet facilities resulted in a 21 percent decrease, utensil washing 23 percent, and both 60 percent. Positive E. coli tests resulted in a 6 percent increase in the sickness presence. In conclusion, the diarrheal disease can be reduced through the three principles of educational campaigns, policy implementation, and group-based movements.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Mathematics & Statistics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Li Li

Second Committee Member

Alok K. Bohara

Third Committee Member

Fletcher G. W. Christensen

Project Sponsors

The Nepal Study Center




Bayesian network analysis; E. coli; diarrhea; wash hands; flush toilet; Nepal

Document Type