Gastrointestinal infections in the pediatric population

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize the literature concerning gastrointestinal infections in the pediatric population, primarily in developed countries. Searches of MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library databases were performed in August 2009 to locate studies published in the last 18 months.

Recent findings

Several independent guidelines based on systematic reviews of the best available evidence related to rotavirus vaccination and to the management of acute gastroenteritis were recently published. Despite subtle differences, there is agreement between the scientific societies that rotavirus vaccination should be offered to all children worldwide. Likewise, there is consensus in the guidelines that rehydration therapy is the mainstay of treatment for acute gastroenteritis and should be applied promptly. For oral rehydration, a reduced osmolality oral rehydration solution should be used. Regular feeding should not be interrupted and should be carried on following initial rehydration. The use of some antiemetics and antidiarrheal drugs has been studied; however, they are generally not necessary. The use of probiotics with documented efficacy may be considered. Antibiotics should not be routinely administered to children with gastroenteritis.

Summary

This review discusses the most recent relevant guidelines related to gastrointestinal infections in children, which may facilitate provision of more standardized advice and treatment to patients by healthcare providers.

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