Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Overview of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Neonates and Infants


William J. Cochran

, MD, Geisinger Clinic

Last review/revision Aug 2021 | Modified Sep 2022
View Patient Education

Gastrointestinal disorders can affect neonates and infants:

Infectious gastroenteritis Overview of Gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases are infectious, although gastroenteritis may occur after ingestion of drugs and chemical... read more is the most common pediatric gastrointestinal disorder. About 3 to 5 billion episodes occur worldwide each year, most commonly in medically underserved countries among children < 5 years of age. Death due to diarrhea and dehydration occurs in about 1.5 to 2.5 million children per year. In the US, more than 350 million cases of infectious gastroenteritis occur annually, resulting in 100 to 300 deaths. About 2% of children in developed countries will require hospitalization at some time because of acute gastroenteritis and dehydration. In the US, acute gastroenteritis accounts for an estimated 200,000 hospitalizations and 1.5 million outpatient visits at a cost in excess of 2 billion dollars. The incidence of rotavirus gastroenteritis, which was the most common viral cause, has decreased by 58 to 90% because of routine administration of the rotavirus vaccines Rotavirus Vaccine The rotavirus vaccine is recommended for infants to protect against gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus disease. For more information, see Rotavirus Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices... read more . Norovirus is now the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in children in the US (1 General reference Gastrointestinal disorders can affect neonates and infants: Gastroesophageal reflux Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis Intussusception Meconium ileus read more ).

General reference

  • 1. Sattar SBA, Singh S: Bacterial gastroenteritis [Updated 2020 Aug 11]. In StatPearls (Internet). Treasure Island, StatPearls Publishing, 2020.

View Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!