My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.


Posted: | Report This Report Question |

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

7,995 Answers
373,851 Helpful Votes

Usually, gastroenteritis is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, which can spread quickly through contaminated food or water.

  • Bacteria that cause gastroenteritis include Escherichia coli, salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shigella. These bacteria are usually found in food, but can be spread person to person, says David Burkhart, MD, a staff physician at the Indiana University Health Center in Bloomington.

  • Viruses that trigger gastroenteritis include adenoviruses, rotaviruses, calciviruses, astroviruses, and norovirus. Certain viruses are found in specific places, Burkhart says. For instance, norovirus often shows up on college campuses, lingering on doorknobs and shared keyboards, spreading the gastroenteritis among students.

  • Parasites and protozoans that commonly lead to gastroenteritis include Giardia and cryptosporidium. The parasite Giardia lives in the intestines of infected people or animals, and often spreads when someone swallows polluted water.

  • Chemical toxins in seafood can also cause gastroenteritis, so can exposure to heavy metals, such as lead in drinking water.

  • Other causes of non-contagious gastroenteritis include food allergies, caffeine, or medications such as antibiotics, steroids, aspirin, and laxatives.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

| Report This Report Answer
Archived: March 20, 2014

Was this helpful?


Thanks for your feedback.

88 of 102 found this helpful
Read the Original Article: The Truth About Stomach Flu

Answers from Contributors (1)