The mainstay of management of infectious diarrheal illness in children remains supportive care with oral or intravenous rehydration. In the postvaccine era, norovirus has supplanted rotavirus as the leading cause of gastroenteritis presenting to medical facilities in the United States.

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Diarrhea is a worldwide problem that is frequently encountered in the practice of pediatric medicine. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal illness is the second leading cause of death in children younger than age 5 years, accounting for 760,000 deaths per year in this age group. (1)

The overwhelming majority of diarrheal illnesses are due to acute infectious diarrhea, commonly referred to as acute gastroenteritis (AGE). The degree of dehydration, assessed by both history and physical examination, is the most important indicator of disease severity. However, most children who have infectious diarrhea are not dehydrated and can...

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