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Pediatr Rev. 1989 Jul;11(1):6-13.

Acute diarrhea in children.

Erratum in

  • Pediatr Rev 1989 Oct;11(4):124.


Acute diarrhea is a common problem in children. Understanding the different pathologic processes that cause diarrhea, and the agents that are associated with those processes, can aid the clinician in predicting the etiology of the diarrhea in an individual patient. Small bowel involvement, most commonly caused by Rotavirus, produces a high incidence of vomiting, often before the onset of diarrhea, and large, watery, and relatively infrequent stools. Large bowel involvement, usually due to Campylobacter, Salmonella, or Shigella produces frequent, often bloody stools containing leukocytes. Treatment of diarrhea should be focused on correcting dehydration, principally with oral rehydration solutions containing appropriate concentrations of electrolytes and carbohydrates. Early refeeding, avoiding foods containing lactose, should be considered for most pediatric patients with acute diarrhea. Antimicrobial therapy should be reserved primarily for parasitic infectious, pseudomembranous enterocolitis, and the early stages of a Campylobacter dysentery. The etiology of acute pediatric diarrhea can be predicted in most patients and early, appropriate treatment can be instituted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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