What is the prevalence of bacterial gastroenteritis in the US?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Jennifer Lynn Bonheur, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Bacterial gastroenteritis is a very common problem in primary care and emergency department settings, especially in children younger than 5 years. [6, 7] Diarrhea accounts for as many as 5% of pediatric office visits and 10% of hospitalizations in this age group.

Very often, gastroenteritis is underreported in the adult population. Each year, gastroenteritis in adults accounts for 8 million doctor visits and 250,000 hospitalizations. Episodes of gastroenteritis do not occur at random but usually take place in outbreaks. Traveler's diarrhea affects 20-50% of people traveling from industrialized to developing countries. [7, 11, 12]

From 2000 to 2009, the number of hospitalized patients with any Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) discharge diagnoses more than doubled, from approximately 139,000 to 336,600, and the number with a primary CDI diagnosis more than tripled, from 33,000 to 111,000. [13]

Among CDIs identified in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Emerging Infections Program data in 2010, 94% were associated with receiving health care; of these, 75% had onset among persons not currently hospitalized, including recently discharged patients, outpatients, and nursing home residents. [13]

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