Bacterial enteritis

Salmonella enteritis

Probably the most common cause of bacterial diarrhea in our latitudes is Salmonella infection (especially Salmonella enteritidis). Especially in summer months it comes through contaminated animal products (especially poultry and eggs) to complaints that usually disappear again after 12 to 48 hours without consequences.

Travel diarrhea

The main reason for unpleasant memories ("Montezuma's Revenge") of adventure trips are pathogenic (disease-causing) coli bacteria (especially enterotoxic E.coli). The bacteria produce toxins that negatively affect the transport of water and electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) through the intestine. This intestinal inflammation accompanied by severe diarrhea usually heals without consequences after a few days. However, there are E. coli strains that can cause more severe symptoms.


Especially in developing countries, after flooding, epidemic-like diarrheal diseases occur again and again, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Lack of hygiene, caused by non-existent or poorly functioning sewerage (contaminated drinking water!) In conjunction with a warm climate for a rapid reproduction of the germ. Again, toxins cause inhibition of uptake and increased secretion (secretion) of water and electrolytes through the intestinal cells. The result is very strong, sometimes uncontrollable diarrhea, which often leads quickly to dehydration and especially in children often to death.


This invasive bowel disease caused by Salmonella typhi begins slowly and causes a typical fever characteristic. After an initial constipation (congestion) comes in the second week to pea-sized diarrhea. The bacterium penetrates the intestinal wall and enters the bloodstream, from where it can affect other organs. The infection takes place over smeared with human excrement hands or over contaminated food respectively drinking water. Most of the rarely occurring cases from tropical countries are introduced here. Unfortunately, there are so-called persistence excretors, which are no longer present with typhoid symptoms, but which can infect other people through the secretion of S. typhi.

Shigellosis (bacterial dysentery)

Bloody-slimy-purulent diarrhea, accompanied by painful intestinal cramps are the leading symptom of infection with this bacterium (Shigella). Especially in times of need and war it comes due to reduced hygiene to dysentery. The transmission paths are the same as in typhoid fever.

Yersinia enteritis (yersiniosis)

Yersinia (most commonly Yersinia enterocolitica) causes these intestinal inflammation transmitted through animal contact and contaminated animal foods. In about one percent of diarrheal diseases, this pathogen is detectable. Children often suffer from "cecal symptoms, " while adults experience symptoms that may be reminiscent of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Other bacterial enteritis can be caused by campylobacter, clostridia ("antibiotic enteritis") or tuberculosis bacteria.

Fungi (Candida, Aspergillus)

Especially in immunocompromised people (for example, AIDS) cause inflammation of the intestine.

Protozoan enteritis

Of the unicellular parasites, Giardia lamblia (Lambliasis) and Entamöba histolytica (Amoebic dysentery) cause persistent diarrhea. These pathogens are found especially in returnees from tropical and subtropical regions. However, certain forms also occur in Europe. Lambliasis is symptomless apart from pulpy diarrhea. Contagion is via the mouth by ingestion of cysts, by smear infections (via feces) or by contaminated food. The amoebic dysentery, on the other hand, is invasive. This means that the amoebas can penetrate the intestinal wall and colonize other organs (especially the liver). In addition to raspberry-like diarrhea, severe complications such as intestinal perforation, hemorrhages and liver abscesses can result.

Toxic enterocolitis

Certain heavy metals (mercury, lead) or poison-producing bacteria (staphylococci, bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens) can cause nausea, explosive vomiting, spasmodic pain and diarrhea within a few hours. Since some of the bacterial toxins are heat-stable, these symptoms can also occur after eating boiled foods. Despite this short-term serious illness, most patients recover quickly.

Actinic enteritis

After irradiation of a cancer, inflammation takes place in the sensitive enterocytes, which, however, usually heals without consequences thanks to the high rate of regeneration of the intestinal cells.

Allergic enteritis

In principle, any food with appropriate predisposition trigger an allergic reaction of the gastrointestinal tract. Especially common allergens are cow's milk, eggs, soy, nuts, fruits, vegetables (celery) and cereals. In the latter case, pronounced deficiency symptoms in children (celiac disease, sprue) can occur in the long-term exposure of the villi to glaucomatous effects. Here the delimitation to the externally aggressive forms of inflammation is fluent.

Autoaggressive (autoimmune) enteritids

This group mainly includes the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.Additional information For travelers, the following applies: "cook it, peel it, or leave it" (cook, peel or let it go)
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