What is the morbidity and mortality of bacterial gastroenteritis?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Jennifer Lynn Bonheur, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Diarrhea and vomiting are so commonplace that nonphysicians usually underappreciate the potential mortality and morbidity of bacterial gastroenteritis. In the United States each year, several hundred people die from complications of bacterial gastroenteritis; the majority are elderly persons.

The CDC reported that enteritis deaths more than doubled in the United States between 1999 and 2007, from about 7,000 to 17,000. Adults older than 65 years accounted for 83% of deaths. C difficile was the most common bacterial infectious cause of gastroenteritis-associated deaths, being tied to 14,500 of them (up from 2700 in 1999). [18]

Gastroenteritis-causing pathogens are the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Many developing countries do not have the resources to properly treat diarrhea and vomiting associated with bacterial gastroenteritis, leading to a disproportionately high mortality rate.

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