Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis contamination

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of viral gastroenteritis

Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are prevalent in low and middle-income countries. These regions lack proper health and hygiene conditions that are necessary to maintain a quality of life. In the tropical and humid regions of the world, these diseases are more widespread. The reason behind this is that these climatic zones are ideal for the growth and propagation of different pathogens. In particular, the prevalence of viral pathogens has become prominent in the last few years. This is leading to some serious disorders like “Viral Gastroenteritis”. It affects people belonging to all age groups.

As per the reports of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (March 14, 2012), 83% of the deaths due to viral gastroenteritis were among people above 65 years. Children, teens, and young adults are equally susceptible to gastroenteritis.

 

What is viral gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis norovirusViral gastroenteritis is a disease in which severe inflammation of the mucosal linings of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine occurs. The primary causative agent is the Norovirus. But other viral pathogens like Rotavirus, Adenovirus, Calicivirus, and Astrovirus can also contribute to gastroenteritis. In all the cases, the patients exhibit Diarrhoea-like symptoms such as loose semi-liquid stool, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms usually last for 1-3 days. This disease is highly communicable and may even give rise to epidemic outbreaks.

 

Pathophysiology of viral gastroenteritis

The virus causing gastroenteritis spreads via different routes. After invading the body of a healthy person, the virus enters the stomach and intestine. In the next step, it causes inflammation and damage of the mucosal linings of the small intestine and the stomach. This inhibits the normal functioning of these organs. In the later stages, the virus multiplies and spreads to the other parts of the digestive tract as well. This marks the onset of viral gastroenteritis. The patients start exhibiting the symptoms shortly after the incubation period (18-72 hours).

 

How does viral gastroenteritis spread?

Viral gastroenteritis is very contagious. It spreads through the following routes-

  • Activities like kissing or handshake with the patient
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Sharing of food, water or utensils
  • Breathing air that contains an air-borne virus
  • Close contact with a person or animal who has infections
  • Infections due to having food or water containing fecal matter or vomit of the patient

 

What causes viral gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis contaminationThe following viral pathogens are primarily responsible for gastroenteritis-

  • Rotavirus: Rotavirus causes infections mostly in the children between 3-15 months old. The general symptoms are- watery stools, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever. The symptoms appear after 1-3 days of direct contact with the virus. These symptoms usually stay for 3-7days. Adults may also acquire the virus after being in close contact with the patients (children). However, they exhibit less severe symptoms.
  • Calicivirus: The common species of Calicivirus that spreads gastroenteritis is the Norovirus. It can equally affect children and adults. Norovirus infection accounts for epidemic outbreaks. The symptoms appear about 1-2 days of the infection and stay for 1-3 days. The patients experience diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, muscle ache and headache.
  • Adenovirus: Nearly 49 strains of Adenoviruses are present in the environment. One particular variety of Adenovirus cause gastrointestinal infections in children less than 2 years old. The incubation period is of 8-10 days. The symptoms appear after this and last for about 5-12 days. Vomiting and diarrhoea are the general symptoms in this disease. Adenovirus infection can take place at any time of the year.
  • Astrovirus:Astrovirus infection results in diarrhoea and vomiting in small children and infants. Occasionally, adults may also acquire infections. The incubation period is of 3-4 days. The symptoms appear shortly after this and last for 2-7days. Astrovirus infections are more common in winter. Vomiting and watery diarrhoea occurs in this case. But the symptoms are not so severe.

Other general causes of gastroenteritis include the following-

  • Poor hygiene practices like having food without cleaning hands properly, cooking food in unhygienic places, cooking food with contaminated water etc
  • Having foods after incomplete cooking or without cooking (Eg: Shellfish)
  • Having sliced vegetables or fruits kept in the open air for long
  • Weak immunity due to HIV infection, radiation therapies in the past or other existing diseases
  • Having dairy products, alcohol, beverages or fatty food items (can aggravate existing viral gastroenteritis due to temporary intolerance to certain food)
  • Overuse of some broad-spectrum drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen

 

What are the warning signs of viral gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis painThe mild to moderate symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are as follows-

  • Semi-liquid or watery diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Discomfort during bowel movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A headache, fever and occasional chills
  • Urine suppression or production of dark brown urine
  • Dryness of mouth, tongue, and skin
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blood in stool (rare)
  • Unstable mood

 

Types of viral gastroenteritis

The following classification of viral gastroenteritis is common-

  • Acute viral gastroenteritis: This type of gastroenteritis results from the intake of contaminated food and drinks. It may also spread from an infected person. Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and muscle cramps occur. But this disease is not so severe and the symptoms last for only 2-3 days.
  • Recurrent viral gastroenteritis: This type of infection arises due to retention of gastroenteritis virus (in dormant form) after a past infection. Activation of these viruses may occur in future. This may cause more severe symptoms like blood in stool, acute dehydration and convulsion.

 

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests are necessary for the accurate analysis of viral gastroenteritis-

  • Blood tests
  • Stool culture
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Defecography

 

Treatment and prevention

Make sure to have sufficient amount of fluids to keep you hydrated and have a lot of electrolytes with liquids like – water, fruit juice, energy drinks, broth etc. In some cases, adults can go for over the counter medications like – loperamide (used to consume acute diarrhoea) and bismuth subsalicylate (used to cure diarrhoea, heartburn, and upset stomach)

Preventions

  • Wash your hand thoroughly after – going to the washroom, changing diapers, handling food etc.
  • Make sure that you have taken all your vaccinations and have clean and washed fruits, vegetables and meat.

Facts

  • In Australia, viral gastroenteritis causes almost 50% of paediatric admissions. It is also a significant cause of death among young children.
  • Viral gastroenteritis causes 111 million episodes each year and about 25 million clinical visits. With 2 million hospital visits and 352,000-592,000 deaths every year.

Facts

  • According to the CDC, the noroviruse changes its game every 2-3 years by developing a new strain if virus.
  • Viral gastroenteritis is also called stomach flu and rotavirus gastroenteritis infection.

Facts

  • According to the Center of infectious diseases in Netherland, it was concluded that the water used to wash fruits and vegetables could be the one spreading the norovirus.
  • Winter and spring are the seasons with a high infection rate.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Since this mostly affects children, keeping an eye on what they eat is important as this infection can be spread by bacteria, parasites, and chemicals as well. This is also called food poisoning.
  • Always make sure to wash your hands and keep your surroundings clean as this infection can be spread by contact – direct or indirect.
  • Pay special attention to your children’s health during spring and winter season as this infection spreads faster at these times.
Don'ts
  • Neglect your health. As you could pass it onto your children unknowingly. This is due to the norovirus which tends to spread among families, communities etc. within close proximity.
  • Forget to get the rotavirus vaccination for your children, to help and prevent the symptoms begin or their conditions worsen.
  • Use the same personal items at home like utensils, toothbrush, hairbrush etc.

 

 

 

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Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
rosacea-treatment--before-_-after
The best and safest ways to treat rosacea Rosacea is a skin disease that is characterized by reddish hives and rashes on the face. Read more…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
What to eat, what not to eat in the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is one among the most popular weight loss programs that have been the talk…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
BoneMarrow-Biopsy
Bone Marrow Biopsy Bone marrow biopsy is a diagnostic procedure where a small amount of bone marrow is extracted from hip…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
piles,fistula,fissures
Difference between piles, fissures, and fistula Click to know the difference between piles, fistula and fissure and the best ways to get effective treatment…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
Is it possible to achieve full body detox with Master Cleanse? Master cleanse is a diet consisting of a lemonade based beverage, a salt water drink and a herbal…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…