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GI tract infections are common and diarrhea is still the most common cause of death in developing and underdeveloped countries (Approx 2.5 million deaths/year). Pathogens causing these infections can be transmitted to humans in three ways: in food, in water or person to person. There are an enormous number of microbes that cause disease in the intestines such as Bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Clostridium), viruses (Norwalk agent, Rotaviruses), and parasites (Giardia, Entamoeba, Ascaris). An infection of the intestines causes diarrhea or dysentery, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. There are numerous ways of categorizing this set of diseases. These diseases are categorized either based on location in the intestines or by how the disease was transmitted or what infectious agent does to the host. A lot of these infections are self-limiting and do not require treatment. However, some might spread to other sites in the body and require treatment to prevent further damage.
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