gastroenteritic /gas'troh en'teuh rit"ik/, adj.
/gas'troh en'teuh ruy"tis/, n. Pathol.
inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
[1815-25; GASTROENTER(O)- + -ITIS]

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Acute infectious syndrome of the stomach lining and intestines.

Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Severity varies from transient diarrhea to life-threatening dehydration, children and the very old being more at risk for the latter. Many microorganisms produce it, either by secreting toxins or by invading the gut walls. Forms of gastroenteritis include food poisoning, cholera, and traveler's diarrhea. Depending on cause and severity, treatment includes antibiotics or simply supportive care.

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      acute infectious syndrome of the stomach lining and the intestine. It is characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Other symptoms can include nausea, fever, and chills. The severity of gastroenteritis varies from a sudden but transient attack of diarrhea to severe dehydration.

      Numerous viruses, bacteria, and parasites can cause gastroenteritis. Microorganisms cause gastroenteritis by secreting toxins that stimulate excessive water and electrolyte loss, thereby causing watery diarrhea, or by directly invading the walls of the gut, triggering inflammation that upsets the balance between the absorption of nutrients and the secretion of wastes.

      Viral gastroenteritis, or viral diarrhea, is perhaps the most common type of diarrhea in the world; rotaviruses, caliciviruses, Norwalk viruses, and adenoviruses (adenovirus) are the most common causes. Other forms of gastroenteritis include food poisoning, cholera, and traveler's diarrhea, which develops within a few days after traveling to a country or region that has unsanitary water or food. Traveler's diarrhea is caused by exposure to enterotoxin-producing strains of the common intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli.

      The treatment of gastroenteritis depends on the cause and the severity of symptoms and may include antibiotics or simply supportive care. Adults tend to have milder cases of the illness than do children and the very old, who run the risk of dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting.

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Universalium. 2010.

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