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Possible indicators of a condition other than gastroenteritis affecting a child with diarrhoea and vomiting

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Other conditions that are in the differential diagnosis of gastroenteritis in a child include:

  • respiratory tract infection
  • meningitis
  • urinary tract infection
  • intussusception
  • acute appendicitis
  • Hirschsprung's disease

Suggested indicators of possible diagnoses other than gastroenteritis include:

  • fever (1):
    • temperature of 38°C or higher in children younger than 3 months
    • temperature of 39°C or higher in children aged 3 months or older
  • respiratory features
    • shortness of breath or tachypnoea
  • features suggestive of meningitis
    • altered conscious state
    • neck stiffness
    • bulging fontanelle in infants
    • non-blanching rash
  • possible other gastroenterological cause
    • blood and/or mucus in stool
    • bilious (green) vomit
    • severe or localised abdominal pain
    • abdominal distension or rebound tenderness


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