Diseases and Conditions

Common Causes of Diarrhea

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Bacterial or Viral Infections

There are many kinds of bacteria and viruses that can cause diarrhea, particularly acute diarrhea. The common viral infections that cause diarrhea include cytomegalovirus, rotavirus, and viral hepatitis. Another is norovirus.


Similar to viral infections causing acute diarrhea, there are bacterial infections that come from ingesting contaminated water or food. These are often known as food-borne illnesses that spread throughout the digestive tract. The strains of bacteria that cause food-borne illness, food poisoning, and infections leading to diarrhea include Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter. Oftentimes, treatment is needed to help the immune system fight off a bacterial infection.