Updated: 2/24/2020

Microbiology of Diarrhea and Food Poisoning

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 Bugs Causing Diarrhea and Food Poisoning
Bug
Transmission
Comments
Staphylococcus aureus Custards, mayonnaise/potato salad, canned meats Symptoms start and end quickly
Bacillus cereus Reheated rice, food kept warm but not hot Symptoms start and end quickly
Clostridium botulinum Canned food, home-canned alkaline vegetables --
Clostridum perfringens Reheated meat Watery diarrhea
Clostridium difficile Endogenous, nosocomial
NOTE: not food poisoning
Watery diarrhea
E. coli (EHEC - no invasion, no WBCs; EIEC - invasion + WBCs) Undercooked meat, contaminated food, fecal-oral Bloody diarrhea
E. coli (ETEC)   Undercooked meat, contaminated food, fecal-oral Watery diarrhea
Legionella pneumophila contaminated water (especially in smokers) Pneumonia, fever, diarrhea, hyponatremia
Salmonella enteridis Chicken products (eggs, raw chicken) Diarrhea may be bloody
Shigella dysenteriae Fecal-oral Bloody diarrhea
Campylobacter jejuni Poultry, unpasteurized milk, fecal-oral Bloody diarrhea with pus
Vibrio cholerae Fecal-oral Watery diarrhea ("rice water stools")
Vibrio parahaemolyticus/vulnificus Seafood, sushi (leading cause of diarrhea in Japan) --
Yersinia enterocolitica Contaminated milk, pork, pet feces Bloody diarrhea
Brucella Unpasteurized dairy products --
Adenovirus Fecal-oral Watery diarrhea
Pediatric
Norwalk virus Fecal-oral Watery diarrhea
Pediatric
Reovirus Fecal-oral --
Rotavirus Fecal-oral Watery diarrhea
Infant mortality
Giardia lamblia Fecal-oral Watery diarrhea
Associated with campers/hikers
Entamoeba histolytica Fecal-oral Bloody or watery diarrhea
Cryptosporidium Fecal-oral Watery diarrhea 
Diarrhea in AIDS
Taenia solium Pork Intestinal tapeworm, neurocysticercosis
Taenia saginata Beef Intestinal tapeworm
Diphyllobothrium latum Fish Intestinal tapeworm

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Questions (1)

(M1.MC.15.35) A 23-year-old man returns from vacation in Eastern Europe. He reports he had been eating new, strange foods, and had been swimming daily in a local river for exercise. He reports that since returning home, he has had daily watery diarrhea. He denies having any blood in his stools. You order a particular stool test, and the results are shown in Figure A. What is the cause of his diarrhea?

QID: 104920
FIGURES:

Giardia

15%

(19/131)

Cryptosporidium

63%

(83/131)

E. coli

17%

(22/131)

S. aureus

1%

(1/131)

B. cereus

2%

(3/131)

M 2 D

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EXPERT COMMENTS (10)
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