Food poisoning

Synonyms: Foodborne illness

Medical Specialties: Emergency medicine, Family practice, Gastroenterology


Clinical Definition

Food poisoning is the term used to describe an acute illness caused by ingesting contaminated food. The causative agent in food is usually bacteria, parasites or viruses. Bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning include Escherichia coli and Campylobacter. Food poisoning often causes gastrointestinal symptoms.


In Our Own Words

Whether we like it or not, we eat bacteria every day, but when certain microorganisms are present in our food, they can continue to grow, infect us, or cause illness due to the toxins they produc. A few of the most commonly responsible bacteria are Salmonella and E. coli. Safe handling of food and proper cooking and storage can reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Relevant Conditions
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Bloody diarrhea
Common Types
  • Norovirus
  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella
Side Effects
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
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