Pathophysiology: Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection where inflammation of the stomach and intestines occur from a virus. It is also known as “stomach flu”. This infection may lead to watery diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and fever. It occurs by contact with a diseased person or by intake of contaminated food or water.Clinicians have categorized it into: Sporadic gastroenteritis, Epidemic gastroenteritis (food-borne or water-borne pathogens), and Acute gastroenteritis.
Disease statistics: There were estimated 17.2 million cases of diarrhoea according to Hall et al. in 2005. More than 200,000 GP visits for mild-moderate disease in 2003 and 20,000 hospitalisations in 2001 in Australia.
Treatment : Viral gastroenteritis is diagnosed by physical exam such as stool sample to test for virus. There are no specific medical treatments and initially it involves lot of self-care measures. Antibiotics aren’t effective against viruses. The illness may be due to parasitic or bacterial infection. Primary goal is to prevent dehydration by providing enough water and fluids to the diseased body. Food is offered in small amounts. In case of small children, food is supplied intravenously.
Research: In 2013, WHO collaborating centre for Child Health conducted the survey for vaccine programs where they concluded that Norovirus associated diarrhoea is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Also, Global epidemics only occur with GII.4 strains. The research was conducted in collaboration with Enteric Virus Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s HospitalVictoria.