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Gastroenteritis is a common and infectious illness involving vomiting and diarrhoea.
The symptoms suffered will vary depending upon the cause and can include:
- Severe diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or be watery
- Abdominal cramping, bloating or pain
Gastroenteritis can be acquired from eating or drinking food that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. By far the commonest cause of bacterial Gastroenteritis is food poisoning. The incubation period depends on the cause of Gastroenteritis and can range from a few hours to a couple of weeks.
Young children are particularly vulnerable because they cannot tolerate much fluid and blood loss. The elderly and people with damaged immune systems are also more at risk from the infection.
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