Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Gastroenteritis (stomach flu) facts
- What is gastroenteritis (stomach flu)?
- What causes gastroenteritis?
- Clostridum difficile as a cause of gastroenteritis
- What are gastroenteritis symptoms?
- Is gastroenteritis contagious?
- Is gastroenteritis a serious illness?
- How does food get contaminated with gastroenteritis viruses?
- Who is at risk of gastroenteritis?
- When should the doctor be called for gastroenteritis?
- How is gastroenteritis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for gastroenteritis?
- What are gastroenteritis complications?
- Can gastroenteritis be prevented?
- What is the prognosis of gastroenteritis?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Clostridium difficile as a cause of gastroenteritis
The CDC reported early in 2012, that deaths from gastroenteritis have more than doubled in about an 8 year timespan. Although the CDC data showed a two-fold increase in deaths from Norovirus, the most striking finding was a five-fold increase in the number of C. difficile deaths, mainly in the elderly. Deaths climbed from about 2,700 in 1999 to 14,500 in 2007 (the last year with data available to the CDC). The reason for this marked increase in deaths, according to the CDC, is the development of C. difficile strains with both increased virulence (ability to cause disease) and increased antibiotic resistance that results in gastroenteritis infections that are hard to treat, especially in the elderly.
What are gastroenteritis symptoms?
The gastroenteritis symptoms are:
- abdominal cramps, and
Not all affected individuals will develop all symptoms. Some people also may develop a mild fever of about 100 F (37.7 C). Most symptoms will resolve in about 2 to 5 days. Gastroenteritis may cause dehydration during this short time period, mainly in children or debilitated adults. In this article, gastroenteritis with dehydration is considered severe gastroenteritis.
People with symptoms of diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting that last longer than 5 days, and often may have other symptoms of fever (greater than 101 F, 38.3 C), malaise, dehydration, sepsis, or additional symptoms, for this article, will not be considered to have gastroenteritis. Not all investigators or health care professionals will agree with this designation and consider bloody diarrhea, vomiting more than 48 hours, fever higher than 101 F, dehydration, and relatively constant abdominal pain as symptoms of severe gastroenteritis. However, since these symptoms are non-specific and are more frequently are associated as part of a spectrum of symptoms that occur with a specific disease that needs medical care, often quickly, these symptoms are considered as part of those that may occur with a number of specific diseases.
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