Is the Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis) Contagious?

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Abdominal Pain Symptoms

Abdominal pain is one symptom of the stomach flu, however, there are a variety of causes of abdominal pain such that includes

  • indigestion after eating,
  • gallstones and gallbladder inflammation,
  • pregnancy,
  • gas,
  • IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease),
  • ulcers, and
  • gastritis.

What is the stomach flu?

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a general term for a number of inflammatory problems that occur in the gastrointestinal tract. Gastroenteritis is a better term because when some individuals use the term "stomach flu," they get the term confused with the flu (influenza) and the viruses that cause the flu. Influenza viruses do not cause stomach flu.

Gastroenteritis most commonly causes symptoms of:

Other symptoms may include the following:

Because stomach flu means gastroenteritis and, because when the term “stomach flu” is used, the readers usually mean acute gastroenteritis caused by viruses (mainly Norovirus), the emphasis of this article will be on Norovirus- caused gastroenteritis although other causes will be mentioned.

Is the stomach flu contagious?

Unfortunately, there are many causes of stomach flu. The most common causes are contagious gastroenteritis are

However, there are many other causes of gastroenteritis that are not contagious such as:

  • Food allergies
  • Antibiotics
  • Toxins

Many medications list gastroenteritis is a common side effect.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/26/2016

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