What is Acute Diarrheal Disease?


The term “Gastroenteritis” is most frequently used to describe acute diarrhea. Diarrhea is defined as the passage of loose, liquid or watery stools. These liquids stools are usually passed more than three times a day. The attack usually lasts for about 3 to 7 days, but may last up to 10 to 14 days.

Diarrhea is a major public health problem in developing countries. Diarrheal diseases cause a heavy economic burden on health services. About 15% of all pediatric beds in some developing countries are occupied by admissions due to gastroenteritis.

In India, diarrheal diseases is a major public health problem among children under the age of 5 years. In health institutions, up to a third of the total pediatric admissions are due to diarrheal diseases.

Diarrhea related diseases is a significant cause of mortality in children under 5 years of age. Incidence is highest in the age group of 6 to 11 months, The National Diarrheal Disease Control Program has made a significant contribution in averting deaths among children under five years of age.

Diarrhea is defined as the passage of loose, liquid or watery stools. Stools are usually passed more than three times a day. WHO/UNICEF define “Acute Diarrhea as an attack of sudden onset, which usually lasts 3 to 7 days, but may last up to 10–14 days. It is caused by an infection of the bowel. The term “Gastroenteritis” is most frequently used to describe acute Diarrhea”. In many cases Diarrhea stools are watery but if blood is visible in stools, the condition is called dysentery.