What is it?

Gastroenteritis, known as 'gastro', is inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, chemicals and some drugs.


What are the symptoms?

Diarrhoea is the most common symptom

Appetite loss




Abdominal cramps and pain 

Blood in faeces - in some cases

Pus in faeces - sometimes

Generally feeling unwell "including lethargy and body aches¨

Hyperactive bowel sounds

In most cases, gastroenteritis is not severe, although the risk of serious illness is higher for older people, young children, and those with weakened immune systems.



Gastroenteritis may spread through

Close contact with infected people

Touching contaminated surfaces

Eating contaminated food

Poor hand hygiene

Airborne droplets



It is advised to treat symptoms of gastroenteritis as norovirus until proven otherwise. Gastroenteritis is likely to be diagnosed by the Doctor based on an assessment, a physical exam, and a comparison to similar cases in the community. The Doctor may order a faecal sample and blood tests.

Outbreak definition

Caution with residents exhibiting symptoms of gastroenteritis is required. It is advised to "suspect" an outbreak within a facility with a single presentation. An outbreak of gastroenteritis is where two or more people, residents and/or employees, in a facility become ill with vomiting or diarrhoea within 24 hours of each other. An outbreak needs to be reported to the public health unit.

Commence a spreadsheet:

  Names of the residents and/or employees that have symptoms

  Date of onset of symptoms

  Type of symptoms

  When symptoms resolve