Purpose of review
Viral gastrointestinal diseases are a leading cause of childhood death worldwide. Recognition of specific causes as they pertain to epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention is necessary for the clinician as scientific advances allow for greater understanding of the diseases. The present review summarizes these advances for commonly encountered causes of viral gastroenteritis.
Implementation of rotavirus vaccine has decreased the burden of this disease in many communities, and advances in molecular testing of the virus increase the ability to test for the virus. The tools utilized to test for these viruses are quite sensitive however, and are limited to primarily research investigations. Associations between virus and other gastrointestinal diseases have been evaluated as well, as have the host factors contributing to susceptibility to these infections.
Viral gastroenteritis is common, and specific viruses are difficult to identify. Testing of these viruses through PCR or electron microscopy as a research tool is important, as is recognition of host risk factors, epidemiologic issues, and development of prevention and treatment strategies by identifying virus transmission.