Continued success in decreasing diarrheal disease burden requires targeted interventions. To develop such interventions, it is crucial to understand which pathogens cause diarrhea. Using a case-control design we tested stool samples, collected in both rural and urban Ecuador, for 15 pathogenic microorganisms. Pathogens were present in 51% of case and 27% of control samples from the urban community, and 62% of case and 18% of control samples collected from the rural community. Rotavirus and Shigellae were associated with diarrhea in the urban community; co-infections were more pathogenic than single infection; Campylobacter and Entamoeba histolytica were found in large numbers in cases and controls; and non-typhi Salmonella and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli were not found in any samples. Consistent with the Global Enteric Multicenter Study, focused in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, we found that in Ecuador a small group of pathogens accounted for a significant amount of the diarrheal disease burden.