The word ‘enteritis’ is used to describe inflammation in the small intestine or stomach. Sometimes it can also affect the large intestine. When such inflammation is caused by bacterias in food or water it is called Infectious enteritis. Infectious enteritis usually can be caused by contamination of food or water we take in by bacteria such as salmonella, Shigella, Bacillus species, staphylococcus aureus, etc that causes inflammation in the stomach, small intestine, or even the large intestine.
A 2015 report states that children in the United States under a year old are more likely to get salmonella infections. Most salmonella infections could lead to Infectious enteritis.
Although symptoms may manifest according to the causative bacterial, general symptoms of infectious enteritis may be:
- Stomach flu
- Blood in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pains
- Mucus- like discharge
Cause of Infectious enteritis
- The most common cause is food poisoning. Infectious enterprises mostly occur when contaminated food with bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus, etc.
- Poor hygiene
- Could occur after coming in contact with animals carrying the bacteria.
- Poor hygiene when handling food and its preparation.
More about Treatment
What is Infectious Enteritis?
Infectious enteritis is also referred to as 'acute enteritis' or 'gastroenteritis'. It is the most common form of enteritis and is viral enteritis, meaning it can be contagious and spread from one person to another.
Infectious enteritis is caused by food poisoning, which is the consumption of food and drinks contaminated by some bacteria, parasites, or viruses. It is called ‘acute’ because the symptoms usually start almost immediately and can be severe, leading to a lot of discomfort.
Bacteria That Causes Infectious Enteritis
Some of the bacteria that cause infectious enteritis to include the following:
- Bacillus species
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Escherichia coli (E.coli)
- Yersinia enterocolitica
- Campylobacter jejuni
Modes of Transmission
Infectious enteritis, as the name suggests, is contagious and can be transmitted from one person to another through the following ways:
- Using the spoon, cups, plates, etc of an infected person.
- Coming in contact with the saliva of the person by touching it and rubbing it into your mouth.
- By kissing an infected person.
How is it diagnosed?
- First, you will be asked several questions to ascertain how severe it is.
- You will be examined for signs of dehydration and abdominal pains
- You will be taken to the lab to perform a stool sample analysis.
- A blood sample may also be taken
Risk factors include:
- Low immunity due to underlying sickness
- Reduced stomach acidity due to drugs
- Food not properly cooked or heated
When do I see the doctor?
Infectious enteritis most likely will clear up without treatment in a few days but if it persists for more than three or four days, seek medical attention. Check for the following signs:
- When symptoms are severe or chronic when experiencing dehydration along with symptoms especially in Infants and young children. This could be a serious health risk.
- The color of your urine is dark with a strong offensive odor
- Excessive thirst and weakness
Treatment of Infectious Enteritis
There are basic methods you can use in treating infectious Enteritis if it's not severe. They include:
- Taking water to keep hydrated, keep the body electrolytes balanced, and avoid complications.
- Trying to eat little but often.
- Taking food and fruits rich in Potassium.
- Avoid food rich in fibers or dairy food
- Try eating ginger, Apple cider vinegar, and basil, as they help strengthen the wall of the stomach and reduce the abdominal pains.
- If you don't get better after 4-5 days, visit your doctor
At the hospital:
- Fluids and salts will be given to you intravenously through your veins with the help of a syringe or drip
- Antibiotics may also be administered.
- Medications that aid in neutralizing your stomach acid could be given to help fight these infections.
- Bed rest to help your body fight it.
Although Infectious enteritis causes little or no complications in healthy adults, it could be fatal for little children and the elderly. Hence, they require to be strictly monitored when showing symptoms, especially of dehydration. Complications include
- Muscle pains
- Increase in temperature
- Loss of ability to control bowel movement
- In extreme cases, kidney failure
- Bleeding in the intestinal tract.
- Making meals so as not to spread it.
- Wash your hands properly after using the toilet.
- Knowing recent stories about outbreaks of bacteria on certain types of food.
- Keeping a hygienic environment, especially, where food is prepared.
- Regularly wash your hands after using the convenience and before handling food
- Store food at very hot or very cold temperature
- Always wash salads and vegetables properly and thoroughly
- Wash your hands after coming in contact with animals.
Complications of these infections include high fevers, muscle pain, and inability to control your bowel movements. Some bacterial infections can cause your kidneys to fail, bleeding in your intestinal tract, and anemia.
What happens if left untreated?
When infectious enteritis is left untreated for a long while, it could result in severe brain damage or even death
It could last less than a week for healthy adults and mild cases for less than 3 days. However, with good medication, treatment, and proper rest, your infection will likely go away and you will be sure to be healthy again.
Whilst in recovery, avoid:
Preventive measures include:
1. How is Infectious Enteritis spread?
Infectious Enteritis is contagious. It is mostly spread on direct contact and also through contaminated food substance
2. Who can get infected?
Anyone can get infected including children and the elderly. Mostly, children and the elderly are more prone to this infection
3. What kind of bacteria are responsible?
They include; Salmonella, Campylobacteria, Shigella, Yersinia, Staphylococcus, E.coli.
4. What is dehydration?
Dehydration is the process of the body losing its fluid at an abnormal rate without an adequate replacement. It could be through excessive sweating, micturition, defecation, etc, .
5. What are the signs of dehydration?
It could be mild or severe.
Mild signs include:
- Dry skin
- Muscle cramps
Severe signs may include:
- Sunken eyes
- Weakness, dizziness, and lack of energy
- Increase in heart rate
- Increase in breathing
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