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Bacterial Diarrhea

Bacterial Diarrhoea may be a symptom of gastroenteritis which may be caused by a virus like norovirus or rotavirus. Bacteria like Campylobacter, Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella or shigella can all cause food poisoning.

Germs may get into your food in many ways and lead to food contamination:

  • Meat comes into contact with bacteria when processed;
  • Water used during growing or shipping may contain animal or human waste;
  • Improper food handling or preparation.

Food may be contaminated in the following ways:

  • Food prepared by someone who did not wash their hands properly;
  • 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 fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well;
  • Raw vegetable or fruit juices and dairy products;
  • Undercooked meats or eggs;
  • Water from a well or stream, or city or town water that has not been treated.

Bacterial Diarrhea symptoms will depend on the type of bacteria that has caused the sickness. All types of food poisoning will cause diarrhea and other symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting

What can travellers do to protect themselves from Bacterial diarrhea?

  • When preparing food make sure you wash your hands properly;
  • Do not use unclean cooking utensils, cutting boards, or other tools;
  • Keep dairy products in the refrigerator and do not leave them out too long, especially in warmer climates;
  • Keep frozen and refrigerated foods at the proper temperature;
  • Make sure all food is reheated properly;
  • Wash well all raw fruits or vegetables before consumption;
  • Cook meats and eggs properly;
  • Do not eat bush meat;
  • When eating out, be careful where you eat;
  • Do not drink water from a well or stream that has not been treated.


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