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: In 2010, Public Health Agency of Canada declared that rotavirus infection is common among children. According to a Canadian study, one child in 62 will have been hospitalized due to RV by age 5. Over half of hospitalizations occur in the 6-to-24-month age group mainly due to RV. Betwwen 2012 and 2013, Norovirus accounted for 91% (374/411) of outbreaks with a known causative agent. Institutional norovirus outbreaks were reported in 34 of the 36 public health units in Ontario during the 2012-2013 season.
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: The research work conducted by Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with Merck Frosst and Health Canada.