About viral gastroenteritis
Viral pathogens cause a majority of diarrheal episodes especially in the pediatric age group, and cause severe epidemics in all age groups globally.
Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, as well as nausea, fever, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle ache. The most common causative agents of viral gastroenteritis in humans are norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus. Norovirus is the major cause of non-bacterial epidemics of gastroenteritis in all age groups. Sapovirus causes similar, but usually milder symptoms. Rotavirus is the most important cause of severe acute gastroenteritis among young children causing hundreds of thousands of deaths annually, especially in Africa and Asia. Human adenovirus and astrovirus cause acute gastroenteritis in children.
Viral gastroenteritis is easily transmitted by a close contact by person to person or by contaminated objects, food, and drinks. The symptoms last usually from one to three days, but viral shedding and the risk of transmission can continue up to several weeks. Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis are most frequent in winter months, and are usual for example in childcare facilities, schools, and nursing homes. Rapid diagnostic confirmation of the causative agent is pivotal, especially during outbreaks.