Medline Plus has written gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites. Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States. The cause of viral gastroenteritis is often a norovirus infection, which spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person. The most effective prevention is frequent hand washing. The symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Most people recover from gastroenteritis with no treatment. Dehydration is the most common problem which occurs with gastroenteritis.
In an article today, Jan. 16, 2013, John Gever has reported for MedPage Today, FDA Clears Test for 11 GI Pathogens. A test which can identify 11 different pathogens that can cause infectious gastroenteritis has received FDA clearance. The test is called the xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel and and is sold by Luminex. This test detects the following bacteria, viruses, and parasites: "Campylobacter, Clostridium difficile toxin A/B, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157, Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) LT/ST, Shiga‐like toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) stx1/stx2, Salmonella, Shigella, Norovirus, Rotavirus A, Cryptosporidium, Giardia.
This test should help clinicians and public health professionals to more quickly identify and investigate the source of potential gastroenteritis outbreaks. However, the FDA has emphasized the risk of false-positive findings is great enough that positive results with the xTAG test should be confirmed with additional testing.