Learn About Bacterial Gastroenteritis

What is the definition of Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Bacterial gastroenteritis occurs when there is an infection of your stomach and intestines. This is due to bacteria.

Save information for later
Sign Up
What are the alternative names for Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Infectious diarrhea - bacterial gastroenteritis; Acute gastroenteritis; Gastroenteritis - bacterial

What are the causes of Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Bacterial gastroenteritis can affect one person or a group of people who all ate the same food. It is commonly called food poisoning. It often occurs after eating at picnics, school cafeterias, large social gatherings, or restaurants.

Your food may get infected in many ways:

  • Meat or poultry may come into contact with bacteria when the animal is processed.
  • Water that is used during growing or shipping may contain animal or human waste.
  • Improper food handling or preparation may occur in grocery stores, restaurants, or homes.

Food poisoning often occurs from eating or drinking:

  • 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 shellfish such as oysters or clams
  • Raw fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well
  • Raw vegetable or fruit juices and dairy products (look for the word "pasteurized" to make sure the food is safe to eat or drink)
  • Undercooked meats or eggs
  • Water from a well or stream, or city or town water that has not been treated

Many different types of bacteria can cause bacterial gastroenteritis, including:

  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • E coli
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Yersinia
What are the symptoms of Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Symptoms depend on the type of bacteria that caused the sickness. All types of food poisoning cause diarrhea. Other symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
Not sure about your diagnosis?
Check Your Symptoms
What are the current treatments for Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

You will most likely recover from the most common types of bacterial gastroenteritis in a couple of days. The goal is to make you feel better and avoid dehydration.

Drinking enough fluids and learning what to eat will help ease symptoms. You may need to:

  • Manage the diarrhea
  • Control nausea and vomiting
  • Get plenty of rest

If you have diarrhea and are unable to drink or keep down fluids because of nausea or vomiting, you may need fluids through a vein (IV). Young children may be at extra risk of getting dehydrated.

If you take diuretics ("water pills"), or ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure, talk to your provider. You may need to stop taking these medicines while you have diarrhea. Never stop or change your medicines without first talking to your provider.

Antibiotics are not given very often for most common types of bacterial gastroenteritis. If diarrhea is very severe or you have a weak immune system, antibiotics may be needed.

You can buy medicines at the drugstore that can help stop or slow diarrhea. Do not use these medicines without talking to your provider if you have:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Fever

Do not give these medicines to children.

Who are the top Bacterial Gastroenteritis Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

University Of Oxford

Oxford, ENG, GB OX13P

Alison Cody is in Oxford, United Kingdom. Cody is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Bacterial Gastroenteritis. She is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Bacterial Gastroenteritis, Campylobacter Infection, Miller-Fisher Syndrome, and Viral Gastroenteritis.

Highly rated in
General Practice
Internal Medicine

UTHealth Neurosciences-Texas Medical Center

6400 Fannin St 
Houston, TX 77030

Andrew Dupont is a Gastroenterologist and a General Practice doctor in Houston, Texas. Dr. Dupont is rated as a Distinguished doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Bacterial Gastroenteritis. He is also highly rated in 22 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Bacterial Gastroenteritis, Pseudomembranous Colitis, Necrotizing Enterocolitis, and Crohn's Disease. He is licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Dupont is currently accepting new patients.

Learn about our expert tiers
Learn more
Highly rated in

Enloe Digestive Diseases

111 Raley Blvd 
Chico, CA 95928

Peter Bangsund is a Gastroenterologist in Chico, California. Dr. Bangsund has been practicing medicine for over 15 years and is rated as a Distinguished doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Bacterial Gastroenteritis. He is also highly rated in 51 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Esophagitis, Colitis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and Bacterial Gastroenteritis. He is licensed to treat patients in Iowa and California.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Most people get better in a few days without treatment.

Certain rare types of E coli can cause:

  • Severe anemia
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Kidney failure
When should I contact a medical professional for Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Call your provider if you have:

  • Blood or pus in your stools, or your stool is black
  • Diarrhea with a fever above 101°F (38.33°C) or 100.4°F (38°C) in children
  • Recently traveled to a foreign country and developed diarrhea
  • Stomach pain that does not go away after a bowel movement
  • Symptoms of dehydration (thirst, dizziness, lightheadedness)

Also call if:

  • The diarrhea gets worse or does not get better in 2 days for an infant or child, or 5 days for adults
  • A child over 3 months old has been vomiting for more than 12 hours; in younger babies, call as soon as vomiting or diarrhea begins
How do I prevent Bacterial Gastroenteritis?

Take precautions to prevent food poisoning.

Digestive system
Digestive system organs
What are the latest Bacterial Gastroenteritis Clinical Trials?
Safety and Immunogenicity of a Shigella-Tetravalent Bioconjugate Vaccine: A Phase 1/2 Randomized Controlled and Age Descending Study Including Dose Finding in 9 Month Old Infants
Match to trials
Find the right clinical trials for you in under a minute
Get started
What are the Latest Advances for Bacterial Gastroenteritis?
Epidemiologic Associations Vary Between Tetracycline and Fluoroquinolone Resistant Campylobacter jejuni Infections.
Investigating Major Recurring Campylobacter jejuni Lineages in Luxembourg Using Four Core or Whole Genome Sequencing Typing Schemes.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Genomic and Phenotypic Characterisation of Campylobacter jejuni Isolates From a Waterborne Outbreak.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : October 15, 2019
Published By : Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Kotloff KL. Acute gastroenteritis in children. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 366.

Nguyen T, Akhtar S. Gastroenteritis. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 84.

Schiller LR, Sellin JH. Diarrhea. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 16.

Wong KK, Griffin PM. Foodborne disease. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 101.