What Is a GI Infection?

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A gastrointestinal (GI) infection occurs when bacteria, viruses or parasites infect the gastrointestinal tract, especially the intestines. In the United States, the most common cause of GI infections is food poisoning.

A GI infection is an infection of the gastrointestinal tract.
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Some of the most common GI infections include those caused by bacteria--such as Salmonella, Shigella and E.coli bacteria--and such parasites as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Food poisoning is the most common cause of this typr of infection.
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Viral GI infections, also called gastroenteritis or stomach flu, are most commonly caused by the rotavirus and noroviruses. Viral infections are highly contagious.

The stomach flu is a viral GI infection.
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The most common symptom of a GI infection is watery diarrhea, which may be accompanied by stomach cramps. Other symptoms may include: fever, nausea, appetite loss, bloody stool and dehydration.

Fever is a symptom.
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The duration of a GI infection depends on its cause and the affected person’s general health. For instance, viral GI infections can last between 2 and 10 days.

A viral GI infection can last from 2 to 10 days.
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Most viral and bacterial GI infections don’t require treatment; parasite infections may need to be treated with antiparasitic medicine. You should get some rest and drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration due to excessive diarrhea.

A parasitic infection may need to be treated with medication.
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