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The most frequent cause of acute diarrhoea is infection of the alimentary tract and is covered by the term ‘gastroenteritis’. In these cases the associated symptoms of nausea, vomiting, lassitude, headache, fever and shivering all point to infection as the cause of diarrhoea. Although there is usually no problem in making the diagnosis of infective gastroenteritis, the aetiological agent is only rarely identified. The illness is almost invariably shortlived. Therefore, diarrhoea persisting without improvement for more than 2 weeks is unlikely to be due to infection. In these patients the causes discussed in Chapter 6, Chronic and Recurrent Diarrhoea, should be considered.
KeywordsBritish Isle Bacillary Dysentery Pseudomembranous Colitis Acute Diarrhoea Giardia Lamblia
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