Consultant Corner: Diarrhea
Generally, infectious disease consults are not indicated for patients presenting with acute diarrhea in the emergency department. The exception, of course, is patients with diarrhea in certain returning travelers. Many diarrheal diseases require mandatory reporting to local departments of health and sometimes to the CDC. The critical component to the diarrhea workup is a detailed exposure history including travel, exposure to unusual foods or unsanitary water, as well as medications the patient is taking. Rapid diagnostic tools are becoming more commonplace, albeit they can be costly.