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Management of gastroenteritis.
  1. H R Jenkins,
  2. B M Ansari
  1. Department of Child Health, Cardiff Royal Infirmary.


    Childhood gastroenteritis remains a common reason for admission to British paediatric units, although the severity of the disease appears to be diminishing in recent years. We studied 215 infants and children with gastroenteritis admitted consecutively to four paediatric units in South Wales in order to determine the severity of the disease, the organisms isolated, the frequency of complications, and the adequacy of management before admission. Stool pathogens were isolated in 125 (58%) patients (viruses in 65, bacteria in 30, and protozoa in 19, with multiple infection found in 11). There was a low incidence of morbidity and complications, but prolonged diarrhoea (postenteritis syndrome) was present in 24 (11%) cases and 77 (36%) had received inappropriate treatment before admission. Contemporary gastroenteritis is thus a relatively mild disease in the acute phase, but management before admission to hospital is often inadequate, and prolonged diarrhoea may be a feature in a considerable number of cases.

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