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Childhood gastroenteritis

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Gastroenteritis in children, as in adults is an infectious illness affecting the upper gastrointestinal tract - the stomach and, less often the small bowel

  • gastroenteritis is very common, with many children having more than one episode a year

There is diarrhoea; there may be vomiting and there is usually a systemic component manifested by fever.

  • infective gastroenteritis in young children is characterised by the sudden onset of diarrhoea, with or without vomiting
  • majority of cases of gastroenteritis in children are due to an enteric virus (e.g. rotavirus) but some are caused by bacterial or protozoal infections
  • gastroenteritis is an illness that usually resolves without treatment within days
    • however note that severe diarrhoea can quickly cause dehydration, which may be life threatening


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