What is it?

Infectious gastroenteritis and colitis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines that typically occurs due to a viral or bacterial infection. Colitis affects the colon, whereas gastroenteritis affects the stomach and intestines. The second most common illness in the United States is viral gastroenteritis. This condition is often caused by a norovirus infection. The virus spreads through contaminated food or water or contact with a person who has the infection.

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Infectious gastroenteritis and colitis.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Diarrhea of Presumed Infectious Origin
- Infectious Enteritis, Colitis, and Gastroenteritis Not Otherwise Specified
- Infectious Diarrhea Not Otherwise Specified
- Enteritis, Colitis, Gastroenteritis of Presumed Infectious Origin

Signs & symptoms

Colitis symptoms vary between the different types and from person to person.

blood in the stool

mucus or pus in the stool

rectal bleeding

abdominal cramps and pain

Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis may include:

watery diarrhea

abdominal pain or cramping





Symptoms, physical exam, and sometimes the presence of similar cases in your community may help your doctor diagnose gastroenteritis. It is possible to test stool samples for viruses or bacteria in some cases.


Colitis and gastroenteritis may require specific treatments.

Virus gastroenteritis is much easier to treat, and many people recover without medical treatment. If a person has severe diarrhea, it is critical to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Antibiotics may be prescribed in several cases of bacterial infection.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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