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Intestinal Infections in Humans

Intestinal infection is an infection of gastrointestinal tract, caused by some pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. Presence of pathogens in gastrointestinal tract leads to inflammation of the stomach and intestines, condition known as gastroenteritis. An intestinal infection can be even life threatening.

Bacterial Intestinal Infections

Frequently, an intestinal infection is caused by food affected with bacteria. That is known as food poisoning or food-borne illness. Apart from the stomach and intestines, toxins from the food may travel through bloodstream and affect other organs in the body, such as the liver. Intestinal infection can also result from drinking contaminated water. You can get infected by consuming foods that are raw or insufficiently cooked, contaminated shellfish or unpasteurized dairy products. Bacteria breed in unhygienic conditions and you may be easily contaminated if you don’t wash your hands after touching contaminated surface.

Salmonella is the major cause of food poisoning. Salmonella strain known as Salmonella typhoid causes illness called typhoid fever which affects around 12.5 million of word population each year. Typhoid fever causes symptoms such as high fever, headache, pain in the stomach, appetite loss, severe weakness, and sometimes rash. Salmonella bacteria can also cause salmonellosis. This illness can occur from consuming meat and meat products of contaminated animals. Infected person can experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. An infection usually lasts between 4 and 7 days.

Shigella bacteria that are spread through feces cause shigellosis, an inflammation of the lining of small intestine. Symptoms of shigellosis include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Escherichia coli bacteria that are found in bowel movements lead to E. coli infection. People can get infected by consuming undercooked beef, unpasteurized dairy products or fruits and vegetables that are not properly washed. Infection can be also spread through direct contact with infected person or contaminated water intake. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Campylobacter causes campylobacteriosis, a type of bacterial diarrhea. You can get infected by consuming undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk or contaminated water. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, abdominal pain and fever.

Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that cause food poisoning. Bacteria grow when food is left at room temperature for long period of time. Infected person may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and abdominal cramp.

Viral Intestinal Infections

Rotaviruses mostly affect children that in some cases have to be hospitalized. Infection is spread through contact with human feces. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Enteroviruses cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. This intestinal infection resolves on its own after couple of days.

Hepatitis A is a virus that spreads when people consume contaminated food or water, during sexual intercourse. Symptoms include fever, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting and jaundice although some people don’t experience symptoms at all.

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