Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or bacterial toxins. The most common cause is viruses. The infection can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. This is sometimes called "stomach flu." Symptoms usually appear within 4 to 48 hours after exposure. Gastroenteritis is spread from person to person when feces-contaminated food, water or objects (toy or fingers) are placed in the mouth. Bacterial gastroenteritis can be caused by improperly prepared food, reheated meat dishes, seafood, dairy and bakery products and contaminated water from poor sanitation.
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