Causes of Acute Diarrhea

Acute diarrhoea and vomiting

Acute diarrhoea, sometimes with vomiting, is an extremely common presenting problem, and may result from both infectious and noninfectious causes . Infectious diarrhoea is caused by transmission of viruses, bacteria or protozoa either by the faecal–oral route or via infected fomites, food or water. Psychological or physical stress may also precipitate diarrhoea. Occasionally, diarrhoea may be the presenting feature of another systemic illness, such as pneumonia.

Causes of diarrhoea


Enterotoxic organisms, e.g. Bacillus cereus, Staph. aureus and Vibrio cholerae, produce vomiting and/or ‘secretory’ watery diarrhoea. Organisms that invade the mucosa, such as Shigella, Campylobacter and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), have longer incubation periods and may cause systemic upset and blood in the stool.

Following table summarises the causes of bloody diarrhoea.

Causes of bloody diarrhoea


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