Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral Gastroenteritis

According to ICD-11, viral gastroenteritis is any condition of the intestines caused by an infection with a viral source.

Signs / Symptoms

What's common signs of viral gastroenteritis?

Common sign and symptoms in children and adults may be:

  • Low grade fever, usually less than 100 F (37.7 C)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Mild to moderate diarrhea
  • Crampy painful abdominal bloating

More serious sign and symptoms in children and adults may be:

  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Vomiting more than 48 hours
  • Fever higher than 101 F (40 C)
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Increasingly severe abdominal pain
  • Dehydration – weakness, lightheadedness, decreased urination, dry skin, dry mouth and lack of sweat and tears are characteristic symptoms of dehydration.

Common causes

What's common causes of viral gastroenteritis?

Norovirus 

Fifty to seventy percent of cases of gastroenteritis in adults are caused by noroviruses (genus Norovirus, family Caliciviridae). This virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly. Causes gastroenteritis more than other viruses.

Rotavirus

Leads severe diarrhea in infants and young children. Responsible for more than 400,000 doctor visits; more than 200,000 emergency room visits; 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations; and 20 to 60 deaths in children younger than 5 years of age.”

Adenoviruses

Generally, causes respiratory illness; however, may cause gastroenteritis, bladder infections, and skin rashes.

Parvoviruses

The human bocavirus (HBoV) can causes gastroenteritis.

Astroviruses

Causes of gastroenteritis frequently in infants.

Departments & Emergency

If someone has one or more sign/symptoms the person can visit a General Practitioner, Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology specialist as soon as possible. 

If someone has one or more serious sign/symptoms the person can visit Emergency Department.

Diagnosis

Based on symptoms in general with a physical exam. To know if others have similar complaints in same community is useful. There is rapid stool test rotavirus or norovirus, but not for other viruses.

Treatment

Often no specific medical treatment. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses Treatment initially consists of self-care measures.

To help keep more comfortable and prevent dehydration while recover:

  • Give time to settle for stomach, avoid eating solid foods for a few hours 
  • Drink clear soda or caffein-free drinks. 
  • Increase taking liquid more than usual and drink frequently.
  • Begin to eat bland, easy-to-digest foods, e.g bananas, rice, boiled potato and chicken.
  • Rest longly. The illness and dehydration may have made you weak and tired.
  • Be cautious with medications. Do not give aspirin to children or teens because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare, but potentially fatal disease. 

 

Prevention

With most infections, the key is to block the spread of the organism. To prevent:

  • Attention to wash hands.
  • Eat properly prepared and stored food.
  • Bleach soiled laundry.
  • Vaccination for Vibrio cholerae, and rotavirus can be considered.
  • Food handlers should not return to work until their symptoms have resolved. 

 

FAQ

How many days does viral gastroenteritis last?

Depending on the cause, usually last just a day or two, but occasionally they may persist as long as 10 days.

Does viral gastroenteritis go away on its own?

Gastroenteritis can be very unpleasant, but it usually clears up by itself within a week.

 

References:

  1. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/gastroenteritis/article_em.htm 
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/viral-gastroenteritis
  3. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/176515-overview
  4. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/gastroenteritis
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