Infectious gastroenteritis is the most common pediatric GI disorder. About 1 billion episodes occur worldwide each year, most commonly in developing countries among children < 5 yr. Death due to dehydration occurs in 3 to 6 million cases/yr. In the US, 25 to 35 million cases occur annually, resulting in 300 to 400 deaths. In addition, infectious gastroenteritis in the US results in an estimated 200,000 hospitalizations and 1.5 million outpatient visits at a cost in excess of 1 billion dollars. For a full discussion of causative agents, evaluation, and treatment, see Gastroenteritis. For dehydration and fluid therapy in children, see Dehydration and Fluid Therapy in Children.
Last full review/revision November 2007 by William J. Cochran, MD