Diarrhea Home > Stomach Flu and Who It Affects

Throughout the world, doctors can find cases of stomach flu, and who it affects is not limited by region, age, or even time of year. Doctors studying the stomach flu and who it affects have found that some viruses are more likely to cause diarrhea in children, for example, as opposed to adults. In addition, some viruses occur seasonally and others are found year-round.

Stomach Flu and Who It Affects: An Overview

Anyone can get the stomach flu (the medical term is viral gastroenteritis). Stomach flu occurs in people of all ages and backgrounds. However, some viruses tend to cause diarrheal disease primarily among people in specific age groups. Rotavirus infection is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and young children under 5 years of age. Adult rotavirus can also occur, but it is less common. Adenoviruses and astroviruses cause diarrhea mostly in young children, but older children and adults can also be affected. Norwalk virus and noroviruses (see Norovirus) are more likely to cause diarrhea in older children and adults.

Where Does Stomach Flu Occur?

Stomach flu affects people in all parts of the world. Each virus has its own seasonal activity. For example, in the United States, rotavirus and astrovirus infections occur during the cooler months of the year (October to April), whereas adenovirus infections occur throughout the year.
Stomach flu outbreaks can occur in institutional settings, such as schools, childcare facilities, and nursing homes, and can occur in other group settings, such as banquet halls, cruise ships, dormitories, and campgrounds.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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