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Acute viral gastroenteritis in children in resource-rich countries: Clinical features and diagnosis

David O Matson, MD, PhD
Section Editors
Morven S Edwards, MD
Deputy Editor
Mary M Torchia, MD


The epidemiology, clinical features, and diagnosis of acute viral gastroenteritis in children in resource-rich countries will be discussed here. The prevention and treatment of acute viral gastroenteritis in children in resource-rich countries, acute diarrhea in children in resource-limited countries, and chronic diarrhea in children are discussed separately.

(See "Acute viral gastroenteritis in children in resource-rich countries: Management and prevention".)

(See "Approach to the child with acute diarrhea in resource-limited countries".)

(See "Overview of the causes of chronic diarrhea in children in resource-rich countries" and "Approach to the diagnosis of chronic diarrhea in children in resource-rich countries" and "Persistent diarrhea in children in resource-limited countries".)


Acute gastroenteritis is a clinical syndrome often defined by increased stool frequency (eg, ≥3 loose or watery stools in 24 hours or a number of loose/watery bowel movements that exceeds the child's usual number of daily bowel movements by two or more), with or without vomiting, fever, or abdominal pain [1-4]. It usually lasts less than one week and not longer than two weeks. Diarrhea that lasts >14 days is "persistent" or "chronic." Diarrhea that recurs after seven days without diarrhea is "recurrent."

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 24, 2017.
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