Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and the small intestines that typically features with diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. The basic problem in this condition is improper absorption and secretion of the fluids and this is why diarrhea occurs. Diarrhea leads to huge loss of fluids and consequent dehydration.
The causes can be differently classified but all in all the infective agents are those which are generally responsible for gastroenteritis.
Among all the viruses Noroviruses are the most common viral culprits of gastroenteritis. Infection with this virus usually occurs in winter months. Still Noroviruses can attack at any time of the year.
These viruses can be found in majority of hospitals and nursing homes. Norovirus is capable of surviving in the contaminated area for more than a few days. Generally, the viral transmission is direct. Still Noroviruses can be transmitted via contaminated things and objects. Even the food and water contamination is possible.
Unfortunately, once the infection has gone the patient can get infected again as the immunity against this virus lasts only fourteen weeks.
Apart from Noroviruses there are several other viruses that can lead to gastroenteritis and they include Adenoviruses, Parvoviruses and Astroviruses.
The majority of bacterial gastroenteritis is caused by the food poisoning. The food can be contaminated in different ways. Namely, initial contamination can occur even before the preparation. Some fruit and vegetables are contaminated and if not washed properly and eaten raw can lead to food poisoning. This also refers to certain animal products such as eggs. In the process of food preparation the bacteria can be transferred from contaminated surfaces or from instruments that are used in food preparation. Additionally people who prepare the food can be carriers of the bacteria and transfer them onto the food. Inappropriate refrigeration can be additional cause of food poisoning.
There are several bacteria that most commonly cause gastroenteritis and they include Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Campylobacter.
Traveler's diarrhea is special form of gastroenteritis that occurs in case a person travels to foreign countries especially those in which certain infective agents such as bacteria and parasites are endemic.
Dysentery is a form of gastroenteritis that can be caused either by Shigella bacterium or by Entamoeba parasite. Cryptosporidium is another parasite that can be ingested with contaminated food or water. And there is Giardia intestinalis which can cause gastroenteritis in case that contaminated water is drunk.
Traveler's diarrhea can be easily avoided if people drink bottled water and avoid eating raw food.