n South African Medical Journal - Acute infective diarrhoea / gastroenteritis in infants : editor's choice

Volume 102, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Acute-onset vomiting and diarrhoea is one of the most common illnesses of infancy and second only to respiratory illnesses as a cause of childhood deaths worldwide. Acute diarrhoea may lead to life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte disturbances. Caused by acute infection with a variety of viruses, bacteria and parasites, the condition is easily recognised by caregivers and is usually managed at home. The intestinal infection is caused by contamination of food, water or hands. Existing guidelines for management of diarrhoea are often ignored in public and private practice, possibly because of a perception that the guidelines are too simple, or because the expectations of the need to give 'real' drug therapy to stop diarrhoea. The guidelines in this issue are therefore a timely reminder of the management of a common and potentially dangerous condition.

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