Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

2017 Edition
| Editors: Fátima Carneiro, Paula Chaves, Arzu Ensari

Viral Colitis

  • Xavier SagaertEmail author
Reference work entry


Viruses such as rotavirus and norovirus can cause colon inflammation, resulting in mild to severe dehydration. Rotavirus is a double-stranded RNA virus belonging to the family of Reoviridae. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in infants and young children worldwide. The virus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route. It produces a toxic rotavirus protein that damages the enterocytes of the small intestine and as such causes gastroenteritis (which is often called “stomach flu” despite having no relation to influenza). Symptoms of viral colitis are not much different from colitis from other causes: The infection often starts with vomiting followed by a maximum of 10 days of profuse diarrhea. Dehydration is more common in rotavirus infection than in most of those caused by bacterial pathogens, and is the most common cause of death related to rotavirus infection. As healthy enterocytes secrete lactase into the small intestine, milk intolerance due to lactase deficiency...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Bernstein, D. I. (2009). Rotavirus overview. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 28, S50–S53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Goodgame, R. W. (2001). Viral causes of diarrhea. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, 30, 779–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Rafailidis, P. I., Mourtzoukou, E. G., Varbobitis, I. C., & Falagas, M. E. (2008). Severe cytomegalovirus infection in apparently immunocompetent patients: A systematic review. Virology Journal, 5, 47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rompalo, A. M. (1999). Diagnosis and treatment of sexually acquired proctitis and proctocolitis: An update. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 28, S84–S90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Rotterdam, H., & Tsang, P. (1994). Gastrointestinal-disease in the immunocompromised patient. Human Pathology, 25, 1123–1140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity Hospitals KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium