CLL Support Association

What is gastroenteritis and why can’t I get rid of it?

What is gastroenteritis and why can’t I get rid of it?

Vincent Ho, Lecturer and clinical academic gastroenterologist at University of Western Sydney, Australia provides a useful overview of what is variously termed “Montezuma’s revenge”, “Delhi belly”, “stomach flu” or “viral gastro”, what causes it, what to do to minimise your risk of suffering from this and the associated risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome - even 8 years afterwards!

Some quotes:

"Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in adults. Norovirus is highly contagious and outbreaks commonly occur in residential care facilities and hospitals. Patients can remain contagious for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have disappeared." (my emphasis)

"...people with compromised immune systems can have prolonged symptoms."

"We are learning to appreciate the significance of a disordered immune system for long-term gastrointestinal symptoms... Mounting evidence links bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections with an increased risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome."


Photo: Thomasia sp discovered in a nearby conservation park. Thanks to Jay for the identification.

1 Reply

Good stuff, Neil!

Noroviruses notoriously strike cruise ships and salad bars.

There was some news on the web awhile back saying that alcohol hand sanitizer is not as effective against norovirus as soap and water, because hands often have more oils and dirt:

Peroxide sprays and wipes are claimed effective against norovirus on surfaces when used as directed - which may stipulate "if precleaned". I notice that the brand of wipes I use stipulates 3 minutes of application to kill noro (the spray version is 1 minute). I'd have to leave the wipe on the surface, or use multiple wipes to do the job, I would think.

They are really, really tough viruses to disinfect. Chlorine does a good job, but often can't be applied to many surfaces.

I read recently that 23andMe is now selling its genetic based health report in the UK. I did the test in the US before the FDA forced 23andMe to stop marketing the health report part. So I still have the health reports.

23andMe reports on gene variants that may indicate that some people have reduced risk for norovirus. My test said I do not have the good variant of SNP rs601338 on either copy of the gene I inherited. I do suffer a lot more often from gastroenteritis than my siblings. The one brother who has done 23andMe, and travels the world has 1 good copy.

But there's more than 1 variant of the virus, and it's unclear whether the 23andMe risk rating applies to all variants.

So wash your hands. The 3 second rule does NOT apply to food you drop. The salad bar looks really healthy, but it's probably better to buy and eat cooked veggies.

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