Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis contamination

Last Updated February 20th, 2019

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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Tattoo Aftercare: The best practices to follow once you get inked Planning getting permanently inked? Make sure you follow these critical tattoo aftercare techniques to avoid infectious agents attacking…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
macadamia nuts in food
Proven health benefits and nutrition of macadamia nuts Know all about scientific, amazing health benefits of macadamia nuts, its nutrition, recipes, how to consume, price and…
macadamia nuts in food
Proven health benefits and nutrition of macadamia nuts Know all about scientific, amazing health benefits of macadamia nuts, its nutrition, recipes, how to consume, price and…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
The complete “what to eat” guide for gluten intolerance Does eating breads and pastas often makes you nauseous? Gluten intolerance is a common reason why you might…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
Oxidative Stress: Understanding the most lethal phenomenon happening in your body right now Free radicals cause damage to the body, which is known as oxidation.  The amount of oxidation caused by…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
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…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
Internal bleeding brain
Beware: Ignoring these tell-tale signs of stroke could cost a life The signs and symptoms of a stroke differ depending on which part of the brain has been affected.…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…