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What is Viral Gastroenteritis?

About Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis refers to an infection of the gut and is known as food poisoning when caused by food contaminated with virus(e.g.norovirus), bacteria(e.g salmonella), and parasites(e.g Giardia). Gastroenteritis symptoms range in severity and can start within hours of eating contaminated food.

What is viral gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis affects the intestines and often manifests as watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and, in some cases, fever. As its name suggests, the infection is caused by a virus. And while the term “stomach flu” is commonly used to refer to viral gastroenteritis, this is incorrect as the infection does not affect the stomach but the intestines. In most cases, symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are short-lived and self-resolving. Thus, infected persons rarely need medical treatment before they recover. Although not common, prolonged infection may lead to severe symptoms like dehydration. 

Prevalence of viral gastroenteritis

Gastroenteric viral infections occur frequently, with norovirus being the most commonly identified organism, infecting an average of 20 million people annually in the United States. Gastroenteric infections caused by other viruses are not common. While the infection is generally widespread in a population, symptoms might be more severe in older people, young children and immunocompromised individuals. 


Severe viral gastroenteritis might lead to dehydration, which occurs due to loss of fluids and electrolytes when you vomit or experience diarrhea. Lost electrolytes and fluids need to be replaced to restore your body’s normal activities. Infected persons need to consult their physician when symptoms of dehydration are suspected. Left unattended, dehydration may be fatally dangerous, resulting in organ damage, coma, shock, or death.

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Recent Gastroenteritis Reports

my daughter had fries & a burger at around 10:30 11pm then she wokeup at 6am so sick headache, dizzy, stomach pain, throwing up & having diarrhea . went to the ER was diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis … she’s really weak , slurr speech keep throwing up & her head hurts constantly | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Headache, Stomach Pain, Gas, Dizziness See Less

I got sick after eating a bowl of Great Value brand ice cream (the one that comes in the plastic gallon size pail) I contracted a severe case of viral gastroenteritis twice w/in 2 months after having that ice cream. The first time was so bad I... See More had to be transported by ambulance to a local ER where I was hospitalized for 24hrs. | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Cramps See Less

On7/3/22 OUI yogurt gastroenteritis, I'm so sad. I have never been this sick I have contacted the health department, Nausea , gastroenteritis bloated gas possible ulcer. | Symptoms: Nausea, Bloating, Gas See Less

Last Sunday, I went to the vegetarian restaurant Hakuna Matata hoping to have some healthy food. I had looked it up online and it was the first time I went. They had good reviews. I had a Mix of grilled vegetables (eggplant, red peppers) with tomato pesto... See More sauce and a melon lemonade. That was around 5 p.m. At 8 p.m., I was having diarrhea which lasted all night and all day on the next day. On the next day at night, I was feeling terrible and I went to the urgency care, they gave me paracetamol, antidiarrhea medication and intravenous hydration salts. The other foods I had eaten that Sunday were one orange, and two cafés con leche. This food poisoning lasted almost 4 days. From Sunday night to Wednesday evening.

07/30 update: Acute gastroenteritis: diarrhea for over 24 hours. | Symptoms: Diarrhea
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Gastroenteritis from an indoor park, My preschooler got sick 15 hours after visiting. They started with severe diarrhea, followed by stomach aches and vomiting. No one else that my child spends time with was sick with gastroenteritis type symptoms before. As much as we love Skyzone, this... See More is the only place that could’ve caused the illness. | Symptoms: Diarrhea, Vomiting, Gas, Stomach Pain See Less

Had a spicy chicken sandwich and fries around 1:30 pm on Wednesday 7/6. 12 hours later I started vomiting, which continued for 8 hours. I also had diarrhea for the last several hours of vomiting. I have also had a fever that comes and goes, with the... See More highest being 102.9. This was the first food I had eaten that was not self-prepared in several weeks. A telehealth doctor visit diagnosed as non-specific “gastroenteritis” in the absence of actual testing due to it being telehealth, but symptoms are consistent with salmonella. | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Something else, Fever, Gas See Less

I eat a bowl of Lucky Charms and have been sick for 5 days with diarrhea and nausea. Went to emergency on 5 day and they said it was gastrointestinal issue. | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Gas See Less

Pike County Health Department's (PCHD) Communicable Disease and Environmental Health staff is investigating a cluster of cases of acute gastroenteritis that occurred in Pike County, IL on the weekend of June 10, 2022. Norovirus is suspected, and no known food source or cause has been identified.

In... See More case you experience vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, report it now. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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