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What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning is a food borne disease. Ingestion of food that contains a toxin, chemical or infectious agent (like a bacterium, virus, parasite, or prion) may cause adverse symptoms in the body. Those symptoms may be related only to the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting or diarrhea or they may involve other organs such as the kidney, brain, or muscle.
Typically most food borne diseases cause vomiting and diarrhea that tend to be short lived and resolve on their own, but dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities may develop. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) estimates approximately 48 million people become ill from food-related diseases each year resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths.
According to the CDC, in 2011, the most common foodborne illnesses in the United States each year are caused by Norovirus, and the bacteria Campylobacter, Clostridiumperfringens, and Salmonella.
This article introduces the major causes of food poisoning and is not meant
to be all-inclusive.