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Gastroenteritis (cont.)

Next Steps in Gastroenteritis

Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of infant sickness and death. Worldwide, diarrhea accounts for 3-5 million deaths yearly for all age groups. In general, most adults and children recover after they are appropriately rehydrated.

Gastroenteritis Follow-up

  • After an infection or irritation of the digestive tract, the person may not be able to eat a regular diet. Some people may be unable to tolerate dairy products for several weeks after the disease has run its course. The diet should be advanced slowly from bland non-dairy soups and grain products to a solid meal.
  • If symptoms continue or worsen, call a health care professional.
  • Food handlers should not return to work until their symptoms have resolved. Salmonella infections are a special case; those who work in the medical profession or who are food handlers need to have negative stool cultures for Salmonella before being allowed to return to work.

Gastroenteritis Prevention

With most infections, the key is to block the spread of the organism.

  • Always wash your hands.
  • Eat properly prepared and stored food.
  • Bleach soiled laundry.
  • Vaccinations for Vibrio cholerae, and rotavirus have been developed. Rotavirus vaccination is recommended for infants in the U.S. Vaccines for V. cholerae may be administered to individuals traveling to at-risk areas.

Pictures of Gastroenteritis Infections

<em>Cryptococcus colitis</em> (shown at the arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.
Cryptococcus colitis (shown at the arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.Click to view larger image.

Pathological changes seen in intestinal lumen with pseudomembranous colitis (indicated by arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.
Pathological changes seen in intestinal lumen with pseudomembranous colitis (indicated by arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.Click to view larger image.

<em>Strongyloides stercoralis</em> parasite (highlighted by arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.
Strongyloides stercoralis parasite (highlighted by arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University. Click to view larger image.

<em>Giardia lamblia</em> (indicated by the arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.
Giardia lamblia (indicated by the arrows). Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University. Click to view larger image.

Normal stain of stool sample looking for ova, parasites, and leukocytes. Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University.
Normal stain of stool sample looking for ova, parasites, and leukocytes. Image courtesy of Alexis Carter, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, East Carolina University. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCE:

CDC. Deaths from gastroenteritis double. Press Release, March 14, 2012.

Rakel RE, Rakel DR. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th edition. Saunders. 2011.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2016

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