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Food and Waterborne Illness

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Signs and Symptoms

Bacteria and viruses tend to cause acute illness while parasites are more likely to cause chronic and/or intermittent illness. Each type of illness has its own incubation period, from several hours to days after consuming contaminated food or water, and length of illness from days to weeks.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, which may be watery, frequent, intermittent and in some cases bloody
  • Dehydration

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle weakness; some toxins may cause paralysis
  • Double vision

In some serious cases, the disease may progress to include:

Some cases of food and waterborne illnesses can be fatal.

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