Foodborne and Enteric Infections in Children

Testing Challenges and Prevention Recommendations for Clinicians

Barbara Mahon, MD, MPH


June 03, 2013

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

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In This Article

Children With Diarrhea

Hello. I am Dr. Barbara Mahon. I am a pediatrician and medical epidemiologist. In my practice, I have always found it satisfying to figure out the cause of a child's diarrhea, but working on enteric diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I have developed a new appreciation for the many enteric infections that affect children. In this CDC Expert Commentary on Medscape, I will focus on the major bacterial enteric infections that can be diagnosed in clinical laboratories. Many organisms -- bacteria, viruses, and parasites -- cause enteric infection, but the leading bacterial causes that your lab will identify are:





Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (such as E coli O157)

These tend to be some of the more severe enteric infections in children, although viral infections such as rotavirus are more common, and parasitic infections such as Giardia are also important.