Food Poisoning & Gut Infections

What are Food Poisoning & Gut Infections?

Food poisoning, gastroenteritis or stomach flu are essentially caused by gut infections.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms usually include watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes fever. In some cases, blood may also be seen in the stool.

WHEN to See a Doctor

Adults should seek medical attention if you:

  • Are unable to keep fluids down and become dehydrated.
  • Have persistent vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Vomited blood
  • Have signs of dehydration including extreme thirst, dry mouth, concentrated dark coloured, little or no urine, dizziness or light-headedness
  • Have blood in the stool
  • Have severe abdominal pain
  • Have a persistent fever

 

For infants and children

Children should seek medication attention if they

  • Have a persistent fever
  • Seems tired, listless or poorly responsive
  • Are in a lot of pain
  • Have blood in the stool
  • Appear dehydrated
CAUSES

Viruses

  1. Norovirus
  2. Rotavirus
  3. Adenovirus
  4. Sars-COV-2

Bacteria

  1. Salmonella species
  2. Campylobacter
  3. Escherichia Coli
  4. Clostridium difficile

Parasites

  1. Giardia
  2. Cryptococcus
  3. Cryptosporidium
RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for food poisoning most commonly include eating or drinking contaminated food or water or food that has been kept overnight and reheated. Viruses are particularly contagious and can be spread by sharing utensils, towels or food with someone who has one of the viruses that cause the condition. People that are particularly at risk include children, the elderly in nursing homes and anyone with a weakened immune system.

DIAGNOSIS

A stool sample is helpful to identify the cause of the gut infection. This may include a stool microscopy examination, culture or GI Panel PCR.

TREATMENT

Treatment usually involves adequate hydration and symptomatic treatment for vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever. Antibiotics are not indicated for use in viral gastroenteritis. However, it may be useful in the treatment of bacterial or parasitic infections.