Food poisoning refers to acute illness due to the ingestion of food. It can lead to infectious diarrhea.
The term usually includes:
The term usually does not include the consequences of invasive organisms acquired via the food supply. (The broader term foodborne illness includes these conditions.)
Onset of food poisoning following the consumption of the tainted food or drink can last from one to ten days.[clarification needed]
Food poisoning can be a notifiable disease in some jurisdictions. An alarming number of people are affected annually by food poisoning. Food poisoning endangers between sixty and eighty million people throughout the world each year and results in between six and eight million deaths.
Common causes of food poisoning: If the incubation period is less than six hours, a possible cause is Staphylococcus aureus toxin ingestion. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Another is Bacillus cereus toxin ingestion. Symptoms include vomiting, and nausea (the "emetic syndrome").
If the incubation period is more than ten hours, a possible cause is B. cereus toxin ingestion. Symptoms include diarrhea and cramps (the "diarrheal syndrome"). Another is ingestion of Clostridium perfringens bacteria, which release a toxin in the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms include diarrhea and cramps.
E. coli may also cause food poisoning with symptoms varying with the serotype.