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Bacterial gastroenteritis

  • Definition

    Bacterial gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by bacteria.


    Alternative Names

    Infectious diarrhea - bacterial gastroenteritis; Acute gastroenteritis; Gastroenteritis - bacterial


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial gastroenteritis, including:

    • Campylobacter jejuni (see: Campylobacter enteritis)
    • E. coli (see: E. coli enteritis)
    • Salmonella (see: Salmonella enteritis)
    • Shigella (see: Shigella enteritis)
    • Staphylococcus
    • Yersinia

    Bacterial gastroenteritis can affect one person or a group of people who all ate the same food containing the bacteria. The condition more commonly occurs after eating at picnics, school cafeterias, large social functions, or restaurants.

    Bacteria may get into your food in different ways:

    • Meat or poultry may come into contact with intestinal bacteria when being processed
    • Water that is used during growing or shipping may contain animal or human waste
    • Improper food handling or preparation

    Food poisoning often occurs from eating or drinking:

    • Any food prepared by someone who did not wash their hands properly
    • Any food prepared using unclean cooking utensils, cutting boards, or other tools
    • Dairy products or food containing mayonnaise (such as coleslaw or potato salad) that have been out of the refrigerator too long
    • Frozen or refrigerated foods that are not stored at the proper temperature or are not reheated properly
    • Raw fish or oysters
    • Raw fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well
    • Raw vegetable or fruit juices and dairy
    • Undercooked meats or eggs
    • Water from a well or stream, or city or town water that has not been treated