Diarrhea may be infectious or noninfectious and presents with acute (<14 days) or persistent (>14 days) symptoms. Community-acquired disease is most common. Viruses (norovirus predominates) are the most common cause of acute infectious diarrhea in community dwellers. Bacterial diarrhea represents only 1-5% of diarrhea cases and is often associated with clustering of cases or outbreaks. Clostridium difficile cases, while often nosocomially acquired, are increasing in community dwellers. Parasites are an infrequent or rare cause of acute diarrhea and tend to be sporadic in nature except in at-risk populations (eg, returned travelers, immunocompromised individuals).

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
April 2017

Last Update: October 2019