What Is Stomach Flu and What Causes It?

What is stomach flu and what causes it?


Stomach flu, also called viral gastroenteritis, is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. You may get stomach flu through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. For infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.


There are some viruses which can cause stomach flu:

  • Noroviruses. You can get infected from contaminated food or water. Person-to-person transmission is also possible.
  • Rotavirus. The infection is most severe in infants and young children who are usually infected when they put their fingers or other objects contaminated with the virus into their mouths.

The viruses can be passed through contaminated drinking water or food, some shellfish, and the fecal-oral route.

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