Gastrointestinal infections 

Gastrointestinal infections are viral, bacterial or parasitic infections that cause gastroenteritis.

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract involving both the stomach and the small intestine. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Gastrointestinal infections are among the most commonly encountered infections in primary care and can be caused by a large number of microorganisms.

The healthcare challenge

Gastroenteritis is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide:

  • 2 billion cases of gastroenteritis resulted in 1.3 million deaths globally in 2015[1][2]
  • In developing countries, diarrheal diseases are a leading cause of childhood death, killing around 525,000 children under five annually[3].

The role of diagnostics

While they may not always be severe and may often resolve rapidly, gastrointestinal infections can be serious in specific patient populations (newborns/infants, immunocompromised patients or elderly populations). They are particularly challenging in healthcare environments, due to risk of spreading healthcare-associated infections.

Rapid diagnosis, appropriate treatment and infection control measures are therefore particularly important in these contexts.

Rapid tests provide rapid differential diagnosis between viral and bacterial infection. Patients suffering from viral gatsrointestinal infections are are then treated with oral hydration therapy and sent home. Rapid tests therefore allow cost effective management, preventing patients from being admitted into the hospital.

When symptoms point to a possible gastrointestinal infection, diagnosis can be confirmed through laboratory tests used for culture or antigen detection, or molecular gene detection from stool specimens. In certain cases (e.g. for E. coli, Salmonella, C. difficile...), antibiotic susceptibility testing is used to determine microbial resistance to antibiotic therapy, if appropriate.

Our solutions

bioMérieux offers a wide range of diagnostic solutions to target different type of microorganisms, in different settings and timelines:

  • Patients on antibiotic treatment and signs of severe diarrhea: VIDAS® C. difficile panel for rapid identification of C. difficile infection.
  • In-hospital patients with higher severity:
    • The BIOFIRE FILMARRAY® Gastrointestinal Panel for identification of 22 of the most common causes of infectious diarrhea, providing results in about 1 hour.
    • VITEK solutions for automated identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing.
    • Conventional or chromogenic culture media for detection, identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing.
    • BIOMÉRIEUX EPISEQ® for genome sequencing. 
  •  Patients with functional digestive disorders (dyspepsia) and suspected to have gastric cancer: VIDAS® H. pylori IgG for the detection of Helicobacter pylori.

[1]  GBD 2015 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence, Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet. 2016;388 (10053): 1545–1602

[2] GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death, Collaborators. Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet. 2016;388 (10053): 1459–1544Merck Online Medical Library – Gastrointestinal Disorders

[3] Diarrhoeal disease fact sheet. Updated May 2017.