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Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1981. 22 p. (Contract AID/ta-C-1428)2 essential direct interventions in management of acute diarrheal diseases, oral rehydration and continued feeding, are summarized. Recent estimates of the global problem are that more than 500 million episodes of diarrhea occur yearly in infants and children under 5 years of age in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 5 million deaths from diarrhea have been reported each year. Dehydration is the major cause of the immediate morbidity and mortality of children with diarrhea. Oral rehydration techniques may assist and reverse progression to severe dehydration and thereby are highly efficient in managing diarrheal disease. Formula selection, preparation of ingredients, distribution of oral rehydration solution, economic considerations, and cost-effectiveness of therapy programs are the primary concerns for those using oral rehydration. Formula selection should take into account the quantity of sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, and glucose in the formula. Preparations should be made so they can be done in the household rather than in national agencies. Centralized national packaging is recommended to standardize the salt/sugar mix. Measuring spoons and containers are also important in the packaging. Distribution should be accomplished by government or private agencies. The home preparation is the most economical. The effectiveness of the program is an important consideration. It is recommended that 2 different formulas be introduced into the community: a simpler lower sodium formula for home preparation and the more complex World Health Organization solution for supervised use in the health center. Continuation of feeding is important during and after diarrheal illness. Anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, may accompany acute infection. Cow milk may help produce symptomatic fermentative diarrhea, however breastfeeding should be continued. Fruits, vegetables, and sources of protein should also be fed to patients with diarrhea. Deleterious effects may occur if a patient fails to continue eating. A community system of surveillance and education should be developed to control diarrheal disease.