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)
- (1) Chow CM, Leung AK, Hon KL. Acute gastroenteritis: from guidelines to real life. Clinical and experimental gastroenterology. 2010;3:97-112.
- (2) Churgay CA, Aftab Z. Gastroenteritis in children: Part 1. Diagnosis. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(11):1059-62.
Last edited 04/2018