Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral Gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection caused by several different viruses. Highly contagious, viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States. It causes millions of cases of diarrhea each year.
Viral Gastroenteritis is often mistakenly called “stomach flu,” but it is not caused by the influenza virus and does not infect the stomach.

Quick Facts


Symptoms usually appear within 4 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and last for 1 to 2 days, though symptoms can last as long as 10 days.
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration

Common Causes:

  • Viruses such as Rotavirus, Adenovirus, Calicivurses, and Astrovirus
  • Highly contagious – often transmitted by people with unwashed hands
  • Close contact with infected individuals 


  • Medical history review and review of symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Stool sample
  • No routine tests are currently available for many of the types of viruses.

Common Treatment:

Most cases of viral gastroenteritis resolve over time without specific treatment. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms, and prompt treatment may be needed to prevent dehydration.
  • Rest
  • Drink clear liquids
  • Eat easy-to-digest foods

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