Acute gastroenteritis

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This page is for adult patients. For pediatric patients, see: acute gastroenteritis (peds).

Background

  • Blood diarrhea suggests bacterial etiology
  • Viral AGE usually lasts <7d
  • Do not diagnose isolated vomiting as AGE

Causes

Noninvasive AGE
Species Onset Symptoms Transmission Preformed Toxin
Viral (norovirus, adenovirus, rotavirus) 11-72 hrs
  • Nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea
  • Mild abdominal cramps, myalgia
  • Fecal-oral
  • Contaminated food or water
No
Staph 1-6 hrs
  • Nausea, severe vomiting, diarrhea,
  • Mild abdominal cramping
  • Previously cooked foods (mayonaise, ham, salads)
Yes
B. cereus 1-6 hrs
  • Abrupt onset of nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhea
  • Previously cooked foods (rice, vegetables, dried fruits, meat)
Yes
C. perfringens 8-24 hrs
  • Nausea, minimal vomiting, watery diarrhea
  • Abd cramps
  • Previously cooked or reheated meats and poultry
Yes
V. cholerae 11-72 hrs
  • Explosive rice-water diarrhea
  • Vomiting, abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Fecal-oral
  • Contaminated food or water
Yes
Giardia 1-4 wks
  • Flatus, bloating
  • Foul-smelling and fatty stools (steatorrhea)
  • Fecal-oral
  • Contaminated water
No
Invasive AGE
Species Onset Symptoms Transmission
Salmonella 6-72 hours
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Water
  • Reptiles
Shigella 1-3 days
  • Food
  • Fecal-Oral
Yersinia 1-5 days
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Pork
  • Wild Animals
  • Fecal-Oral
Campylobacter 1-7 days
  • Water
  • Poultry
  • Pets/Animals
C. Diff 1-11 Weeks
  • Copious FOUL diarrhea
Entamoeba 1-11 weeks
  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Travel

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Nausea and vomiting

Critical

Emergent

Nonemergent

Diffuse Abdominal pain

Evaluation

  • Assess hydration status
    • Cap refill, skin turgor, respiratory rate
  • Consider stool labs if:

Management

  1. Rehydration (PO preferred)
    • 30mL(1oz)/kg/hr
  2. Antiemetic

Antibiotics

Disposition

  • Most can be discharged

Admit

  • Unable to tolerate PO
  • Hemodynamic instability
  • Significant comorbidities

See Also

References

Authors:

Ross Donaldson