Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever.
The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis — often called stomach flu — is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If you're otherwise healthy, you'll likely recover without complications. But for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.
There's no effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so prevention is key. In addition to avoiding food and water that may be contaminated, thorough and frequent hand-washings are your best defense.
Dec. 02, 2014
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Norovirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Viral gastroenteritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralgastroenteritis/index.htm. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Matson DO. Rotavirus vaccines for infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.
- Hoa Tran TN, et al. Molecular epidemiology of norovirues associated with acute sporadic gastroenteritis in children: Global distribution of genogroups, genotypes and GII.4 variants. Journal of Clinical Virology. 2013;56:185.
- Norovirus: Clinical overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/hcp/clinical-overview.html. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Cortese MM, et al. Effectiveness of monovalent and pentavalent rotavirus vaccine. Pediatrics. 2013;131:e25. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/1/e25.full. Accessed Oct. 10, 2014.
- Rotavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/index.html. Accessed Oct. 10, 2014.
- Rotavirus. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/rotavirus/en/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Matson DO. Viral gastroenteritis in children: Prevention and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.
- Travelers' health: Food and water safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.