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Acute Infectious Diarrhea and Gastroenteritis in Children

  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases (I Brook, Section Editor)
  • Published:
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Abstract

Purpose of Review

We aimed to summarize the most current evidence on the main aspects of the diarrheal diseases in children. The following key elements were addressed: definitions, etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, dietary management, pharmacological treatments, and prevention. We covered the following questions: What are the most important clinical and laboratory features of the disease? What are the best approaches for the dietary management? What is the best way to classify the hydration status, and to prevent and treat the dehydration? What are the most effective and safe interventions for reducing the diarrhea and vomiting?

Recent Findings

Diarrheal diseases are one of the most common diseases in childhood. The most common cause is rotavirus. A key element in the approach of a child with diarrhea is determining their hydration status, which determines the fluid management. Laboratory tests are nor routinely required, as most of the cases, they do not affect the management and it should be indicated only in selected cases. Several treatments have been studied to reduce the duration of the diarrhea. Only symbiotics and zinc have shown to be effective and safe with high certainty on the evidence. Rest of the interventions although seem to be effective have low to very low quality of the evidence. The only effective and safe antiemetic for controlling vomiting is ondansetron. A list of antimicrobials indications according to the identified microorganisms is provided.

Summary

We summarized the most current evidence on diagnosis, management, and prevention of diarrhea in children. More research is needed in some areas such as dehydration scales, rehydration management, antidiarrheals, and antibiotic treatments.

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Florez, I.D., Niño-Serna, L.F. & Beltrán-Arroyave, C.P. Acute Infectious Diarrhea and Gastroenteritis in Children. Curr Infect Dis Rep 22, 4 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11908-020-0713-6

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