Abdominal cramps Chills Diarrhea
Fever Head - ache Nausea
Vision - blurred Vomiting Weakness
Food poisoning is an illness caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with bacteria and/or their toxins, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. After a person has eaten these foods, the microorganisms continue to grow, causing an infection. Foods can also cause illness if they contain a toxin or poison produced by bacteria growing in food. Food poisoning is a common, usually mild, but sometimes deadly illness.

The symptoms of food poisoning may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Symptoms of food poisoning depend on the type of contaminant and the amount eaten. The symptoms can develop rapidly, within 30 minutes, or slowly, worsening over days to weeks. Usually food poisoning is not serious, and the illness runs its course in 24-48 hours.

Some of the common causes of food poisoning include the following:

Viruses. Account for most food poisoning cases where a specific contaminant is found.
 - Noroviruses. Group of viruses that cause a mild illness. It is the most common viral cause of adult food poisoning.
 - Rotavirus: Causes moderate to severe illness with vomiting followed by watery diarrhea and fever. It is the most common cause of food poisoning in infants and children.
 - Hepatitis A. Usually causes mild illness. It is transmitted from person to person by fecal contamination of food.

Bacteria. Common types:
 - Salmonellae and Campylobacter. Found in warm-blooded animals such as cattle or swine and may be present in raw meat, poultry, eggs, or unpasteurized dairy products.
 - Staphylococcus aureus. Occur normally on human skin and in the nose and throat. These bacteria are transmitted to food when handled.
 - Escherichia coli (E. coli). Found in the intestines of healthy cattle. An infection is caused by eating undercooked beef or unpasteurized milk, or contaminated liquids.
 - Others. Including Bacillus cereus, Shigella (traveler’s diarrhea), Clostridium botulinum (botulism), Clostridium perfringens, and Vibrio cholerae.

Parasites rarely cause food poisoning. The most commons are:
 - Giardia (beaver fever). Causes mild illness with watery diarrhea. It is transmitted by drinking contaminated water.
 - Cryptosporidium. May become a long-lasting problem in people with poor immune systems. It is transmitted by contaminated drinking water.

Toxic agents are the least common cause of food poisoning.
 - Mushroom toxins. Illness can range from mild to deadly depending on the type of mushroom eaten.
 - Pesticides. Toxins are transmitted by eating unwashed fruits or vegetables contaminated with pesticides.
 - Objects, sometimes swallowed by accident, can be harmful for the organism.

Left: X-ray of a 4 years old child, after swallowing a  metallic  sphere (bright white spot on the stomach). Right: view  of the metallic sphere after the process of digestion. Compared to a similar sphere, it has turned black
Diagnosis starts by recognizing symptoms and a physical exam of the patient. In addition, doctors may order:

- Analysis of stool sample to check for bacteria or parasites.

- Blood tests.

- Tests of eaten foods.

- Sigmoidoscopy.
   More information:
Food Poisoning Treatment
Food Poisoning Healthcare Centers

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