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Oral Rehydration Therapy for Viral Gastroenteritis

Frances A. Rhoads, MD
JAMA. 1993;270(5):578-579. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510050044020.
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To the Editor.  —A recent case conference at our institution concerned a child with gastroenteritis (GE) and mild dehydration who was given nothing by mouth and treated with intravenous fluids for 2 days. In the course of reviewing the literature to persuade colleagues that this is now outmoded therapy, I found that the article by Kapikian1 on viral GE in the recent Grand Rounds at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health series, which contains an excellent discussion of rotavirus and other types of viral GE and the development of a rotavirus vaccine, presents a similar "selected case." It is unfortunate that the author chose to use as an example a child whose management did not conform better to currently promoted standards.2 The 11-month-old child was about 5% dehydrated, irritable but not lethargic, and had no vomiting after admission and no electrolyte imbalance or acidosis. Such


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