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Diarrhea Causes

Viral Infections
By far, the most common cause of acute diarrhea is an infection with a virus. This is known as viral gastroenteritis or, more commonly, "the stomach flu."
 
Many types of viruses can cause diarrhea. Common types of stomach flu viruses include:
 
Other viral diarrhea causes include infections with one of the following:
 
Bacterial Infections
Several types of bacteria can cause acute diarrhea. These include:
 
  • Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) -- A common contaminant of processed meats and custard-filled pastries.
 
  • Clostridium perfringens -- A common contaminant in foods that have been warmed on steam tables.
 
  • Bacillus cereus -- A common contaminant of rice and bean sprouts.
 
  • Salmonella species -- A contaminant of eggs and poultry. Typhoid fever is an infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacterium.
 
  • Shigella -- This bacterium is common in daycare settings and in rural villages in developing countries.
 
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli) -- Undercooked or raw hamburger has been implicated in many of the documented outbreaks of E. coli; however, outbreaks have also involved:
 
    • Alfalfa sprouts
    • Unpasteurized fruit juices
    • Dry-cured salami
    • Lettuce
    • Game meat
    • Cheese curds.
 
  • Campylobacter jejuni -- A contaminant of poultry. It is also found in household pets.
 
 
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus -- An infection with this bacterium often results from eating raw seafood, especially oysters.
 
  • Vibrio cholerae -- An infection with this bacterium (commonly referred to as cholera) is common in developing countries and results from drinking contaminated water.

Diarrhea Information

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