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 United States, annually more than 179 million cases of gastroenteritis occur. Norovirus is among the most common pathogen. In report of 2011, it was reported that gastroenteritis incidence was 41,000 cases/100,000 person-years and outpatient incidence was 5,400/100,000 person-years.
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 associated with the epidemiological study was University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Kaiser Permanente, Atlanta. The study was supported in part by the Atlanta Research and Education Foundation and by a Henry Aldrich Student Research Grant of the Southeastern Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.