Skip to main content
hpa logo
Topics A-Z:
Search the site:
Home Publications Infectious diseases Gastrointestinal illness reports and guidance ›  The management of acute bloody diarrhoea potentially caused by vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli in children

The management of acute bloody diarrhoea potentially caused by vero cytotoxin producing Escherichia coli in children

The management of acute bloody diarrhoea potentially caused by VTEC in children - cover

Authors:

Health Protection Agency

Endorsed by:
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Royal College of General Practitioners

Publication date: July 2011

 

Synopsis

Acute bloody diarrhoea in children is rare and is commonly associated with intestinal infections, especially vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) and Campylobacter species.
Urgent advice should be sought from a paediatric specialist whenever a child up to the age of 16 years of age presents at primary care, or an emergency department, having suffered a single acute episode of bloody diarrhoea. This is to ensure that a prompt diagnosis is made, including consideration of infection by VTEC, and other serious treatable disorders. Prompt management, including good infection control procedures, will help to ensure that the risk of further spread of disease is minimised if VTEC is present.

Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion that VTEC infection is present where the patient has been
in recent close contact with:

  • ruminant animals (principally cattle, goats, sheep), their faeces, and faecally contaminated environments (such as at open farm visits)
  • where there has been contact with another known or suspected case of VTEC 
  • where an outbreak of VTEC infection is known, or suspected, to be present locally

Where VTEC infection is considered in the differential diagnosis, clinicians should be mindful of the potential contraindications concerning the use of anti-motility drugs and certain analgesics. Active fluid resuscitation should be used and specialist guidance sought before initiating antibiotic treatment.

 


Availability

Price: Free for download

To order:

PDF download

Last reviewed: 20 January 2012