- Loose / Watery stools. Stools looking like rice water are most likely due to cholera (infection by a bacteria named Vibrio cholera).
- Abdominal bloating (distension) / cramps (spasmodic pain in abdomen).
- Sense of urgency to pass stools.
- Sometimes nausea, vomiting and fever may also be present.
- Malaise, lethargy.
- Usually, symptoms take 1 – 4 days (incubation period) to appear after consumption of contaminated food or water.
- Most episodes generally last 2 – 3 days and are self resolving.
- In severe and prolonged cases it can be a life threatening situation.
Dysentery (Bloody Diarrhea)
- Loose stools with mucus and blood.
- Fever (usually high grade, more than 101°F).
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps.
- Diarrhea (as given above).
- Pain in abdomen (cramps).
- Fever may also be present.
- Dehydration may set in as diarrhea / vomiting continues.
- In most serious and untreated cases death may also occur.
- Symptoms generally appear within few hours to 2 days (incubation period) after consumption of the contaminated food.
- Other associated symptoms due to infection by a particular bacteria can also be present:
- Headache, fever and pain in abdomen with Salmonella infection.
- Weakness and paralysis are features of botulism.
- Sudden onset vomiting with abdominal pain appear in staphylococcal infection.
- Arthritis (joint inflammation), meningitis (inflammation of membranes of brain) and convulsion (fits) in case of Campylobacter.
- Kidney failure and passage of blood in urine in children under five years can occur due to E. coli infection.
- Flu like illness (fever, muscle aches), headache, neck stiffness or fits can occur in Listeria infections.