Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) (cont.)

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What are the most common causes of gastroenteritis?

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The most prevalent cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and the world is Norovirus. It causes about 50% to 70% of viral gastroenteritis while Rotavirus, Astrovirus, Adenovirus, and Sapovirus strains cause most of the other viral gastroenteritis infections. In 2013, Norovirus was also listed as the leading cause of gastroenteritis in children under 5 years old according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Bacterial causes of gastroenteritis that occur worldwide are Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter Aeromonas, and Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains of bacteria. Other bacteria like Clostridium, Vibrio, Campylobacter, and Yersinia spp can cause outbreaks occasionally.

Parasites such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Entamoeba infections can cause gastroenteritis and occasionally, other parasites have outbreaks such as the Cyclospora outbreak that occurred in 2012 to 2013 in the U.S.

There are many other less frequent causes of gastroenteritis such as food allergies, antibiotics, and toxins. Gastroenteritis symptoms are frequently listed as possible side effects of many medicines.

What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis?

The primary symptom of gastroenteritis is diarrhea (non-bloody). Nausea, vomiting, and some abdominal cramping may accompany the diarrhea; mild fever (about 100 F or 37.77 C), chills, headache, and muscle aches along with feeling tired may occur in some individuals. Vomiting is occasional and the symptoms usually last about 2 to 5 days and begin to resolve. Severe gastroenteritis means the person has signs of dehydration: this is a medical emergency.

Children with gastroenteritis usually have diarrhea, but may have other symptoms, sometimes conflicting, of refusing to eat or drink or are very thirsty, either increased or low or no urine output. Weight loss, lethargy, and pinched skin that does not rapidly go back to normal are signs of dehydration, along with decreased fluid intake.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/31/2013

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Gastroenteritis - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you have with gastroenteritis (stomach flu)?
Gastroenteritis - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with gastroenteritis (stomach flu).
Gastroenteritis - Cause Question: Do you know what virus, bacteria, or parasite caused your case of gastroenteritis (cruise ship, traveling by plane, traveling to another country, from a family member or friend?)
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