Last edited 04/2018

Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract (1).

It is a common childhood condition which has an acute onset and presents with diarrhoea, with or without abdominal pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting (1,2).

Around 3 to 5 billion children around the world are affected by gastroenteritis each year

  • it accounts for 1.5 to 2.5 million deaths per year or 12% of all deaths among children less than 5 years of age
    • children in developing countries are particular at risk of both morbidity and mortality
    • in the US, acute gastroenteritis is responsible for approximately 300 deaths, greater than 1.5 million outpatient visits, and 200,000 hospitalizations annually.

The aetiology of acute gastroenteritis is usually an infection

  • viruses are responsible for approximately 70% of the episodes of acute gastroenteritis in children
  • bacterial infection accounts for 10% to 20% of all the acute gastroenteritis
  • protozoal infection are also seen in less than 5% of the patients (1)

Incidence of different pathogens may vary with season and climate e.g. – Rotavirus disease is mainly seen during winter season (2)