We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Enteric Diseases?

By Synthia L. Rose
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Enteric diseases are infections caused by viruses and bacteria that enter the body through the mouth or intestinal system, primarily as a result of eating, drinking and digesting contaminated foods or liquids. Direct contact with contaminated feces or vomit is a secondary method of contracting enteric ailments. The name for this class of diseases is derived from the Greek word enteron, which means intestine. Cholera, typhoid fever, salmonella and Escherichia coli, or E.coli, infections are some of the most common enteric diseases.

Stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are the typical side effects of enteric diseases. Death, however, is also possible. Even if a strong immune system tries to fend off the pathogens, diarrhea and nausea could cause severe dehydration. Depending on whether the infection is mild, moderate or severe, an enteric disease could last for days, weeks, months or even years, leading to constant malnutrition and poor absorption of medicines.

Generally, young children, babies, people with disabilities and elderly individuals are most at risk for enteric diseases due to weakened immune systems. Leisure travelers to foreign countries may also be sensitive to bacteria in foods and water abroad. Health care workers, whether abroad or in their own countries, may also expose themselves to enteric pathogens from blood, patients’ stools and patients’ vomit. Military employees abroad and relief personnel who respond to natural disasters also face higher risks of enteric diseases.

Occasionally, diners are exposed to epidemics of enteric diseases when food-borne viruses or bacteria contaminate foods at fast-food establishments, buffet-style restaurants and even grocery markets. Fecal matter from animals or food handlers can infect homegrown or imported foods despite government regulations. Enteric diseases, because they are easily spread, have the ability to affect large populations across the world. Global health organizations often collaborate and share strategies or safeguards for preventing mass poisonings and rapid spread of infection. These safeguards occasionally include quarantines and travel bans, especially when a communicable disease has been linked to a pattern of death.

Vaccines are often effective in preventing enteric infections. Antibacterial cleaning agents have proven mildly to moderately effective in preventing contamination by hand-to-mouth contact. These cleaning agents have also been cited as a factor in many enteric pathogens becoming stronger and more resistant to antibacterial medications. During the course of treating an infected person, physicians often rely on antimicrobial drugs that prevent fluid loss, strengthen the immune system and repair body tissues devastated by the enteric illness.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By starrynight — On Aug 23, 2011

@JaneAir - Vaccination might be a good idea, but I think we need safer food handling practices. I've read recently about a lot of cases of E. coli in factory farmed food.

It seems like if there are that many cases of food poisoning, we must be doing something wrong. I think it's time for a major overhaul of a our farming system and some serious evaluation of our health and safety practices.

By JaneAir — On Aug 22, 2011

I think we really ought to consider full scale vaccination against enteric diseases in the US. If there is a possibility of factory farmed food being contaminated, we should be protected.

As the article said, enteric diseases can be pretty serious. They can even cause death! And also, even if the end result isn't death, the person still misses work and may have to utilize medical care. I think it would be worthwhile for people to get vaccinated to prevent this!

By ElizaBennett — On Aug 21, 2011

@SailorJerry - Those thermometers look so cool! I don't cook quite enough to justify the expense, though. My father has one that he uses every year when he makes a standing rib roast for Christmas Eve dinner. He likes to serve it super-rare so he cooks at a very low temperature, but the thermometer makes sure it gets to at least a minimum safe level. (Personally, I feel more comfortable with the end pieces as they are more cooked!)

Another good idea with chicken is to rinse it before you cook it, according to my Betty Crocker "beginner" cookbook. You run it under cold water, then pat it dry with paper towels. Kind of a pain, but reduces the chance of illness.

People who yearn for the "good old days" forget how much harder life used to be. At least we don't have to worry about water-born diseases like cholera anymore!

By SailorJerry — On Aug 21, 2011

People don't realize how common salmonella and diseases like that can be. A friend of mine got salmonella from chicken she cooked in her own home. She thought it looked done, but she hadn't used a meat thermometer.

She was quite sick but is on her way to a full recovery. The doctor told her that a lot of what people call "stomach flu" is actually food poisoning! She has also learned since then that virtually all commercially processed chicken in the US is contaminated with salmonella because of the way it is handled and packaged.

I went right out and bought a very fancy meat thermometer. I like to make roasts and big things like that, so I got a thermometer that stays in the meat. It has a cord that connects to a little display that sits on top of the stove so I can always see what temperature the meat's at!

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.