6. Acute Diarrhea and Vomiting

  1. John N. Plevris MD, PhD, FRCPE, FEBGH3 and
  2. Colin W. Howden MD, FRCP (Glasg.), FACP, AGAF, FACG4
  1. John P. Flaherty MD1 and
  2. Michael P. Angarone DO2

Published Online: 29 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444346381.ch6

Problem-Based Approach to Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Problem-Based Approach to Gastroenterology and Hepatology

How to Cite

Flaherty, J. P. and Angarone, M. P. (2012) Acute Diarrhea and Vomiting, in Problem-Based Approach to Gastroenterology and Hepatology (eds J. N. Plevris and C. W. Howden), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444346381.ch6

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Centre for Liver and Digestive Disorders, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

  2. 4

    Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Division of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

  2. 2

    Clinical Instructor, Northwestern University, Division of Infectious Disease, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 NOV 2011
  2. Published Print: 17 JAN 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405182270

Online ISBN: 9781444346381

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Keywords:

  • acute gastroenteritis;
  • norovirus;
  • Clostridium difficile;
  • antibiotic-associated diarrhea

Summary

Diarrheal illness is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide and the second leading cause of death among children under 5. Nearly one in five childhood deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. In the developed world, acute gastroenteritis is a major cause of physician visits and absence from school or work. Diarrhea has also become a significant consequence of hospitalization and antibiotic use. The major causes of acute gastroenteritis are viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The etiology of infection is based on epidemiological risk factors such as food consumption, antibiotic usage, sexual practices, and travel history. Norovirus is the leading cause of acute infectious gastroenteritis. The virus is highly infectious, results in a self-limited diarrheal illness, but has substantial morbidity. Clostridium difficile is the major cause of healthcare-associated diarrhea. The emergence of a hypervirulent strain of C. difficile has contributed to increasing morbidity and mortality. The primary steps in the evaluation and treatment of acute diarrhea are to recognize the severity of illness and maintain hydration and nutrition. Specific treatment is focused on the particular infectious agent and the elimination of any exacerbating factors.