- Typically a self-limiting condition lasting <7 days. It is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide and is responsible for 80% of the gastroenteritis cases in the US.
- Frequent symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, which may be accompanied by fever, abdominal pain, and anorexia.
- Person-to-person transmission is responsible for infection in most sporadic cases. Foodborne and waterborne epidemic outbreaks have the potential to involve large numbers of people.
- Mostly caused by norovirus. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea in young children. It also causes symptomatic infection in older people and in immunocompromised adults.
- Diagnosis can be confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antigen-detecting enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), immunofluorescence assays (IFAs), microscopy, serology, and viral culture, but routine use of these techniques is not necessary.
- Optimal management is with oral rehydration therapy for mild and moderate cases and IV fluids for severe cases, plus adequate nutrition. Routine use of antibiotics, antidiarrhoeal agents, and anti-emetics is not recommended and may cause harm.
- Prevention through good hygiene is the key in controlling viral gastroenteritis. In addition, rotavirus vaccines have recently been approved for infants.
Last updated: Oct 17, 2012