Public Health Fact Sheet
What is Viral Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus and leads to vomiting and/or diarrhea. The viruses can cause gastroenteritis, including rotaviruses, enteric adenovirus, and norovirus.
How is Viral Gastroenteritis spread?
The viruses are spread through close contact with infected people (for example, by sharing food, water, utensils) and by touching surfaces contaminated by vomit or feces of infected people. People may also become infected by eating or drinking foods or beverages contaminated by a virus.
How is Viral Gastroenteritis treated?
Treatment emphasizes preventing loss of fluids due to vomiting or diarrhea. For children, oral hydration such as Pedialyte can be used. Adults should drink clear liquids and avoid alcohol and caffeine. If severe dehydration occurs, seek medical attention.
How is Viral Gastroenteritis prevented?
Frequently wash your hands. Practice proper food storage and preparation. Don't prepare food for others if you are ill. Clean contaminated surfaces with bleach. Promptly wash soiled linens and clothing. Stay home if you are sick.
Symptoms of Viral Gastroenteritis
- Watery diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
- Low fever