Food Poisoning (cont.)
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Food Poisoning Diagnosis
The diagnosis usually begins with the patient's recent history of eating foods or exposure to contaminated water, travel history, and questions about friends or relatives with similar symptoms. The physical exam will focus on signs of dehydration and abdominal tenderness, while blood tests, if necessary, may be used to help rule out other problems. Stool samples may be useful to detect blood in the stool, culture for pathogens, microscopically examine for parasites and to detect certain toxins. In addition, there are immunological tests for some toxins (for example, Shiga toxin). Depending on the suspected cause, in rare cases biopsy samples may be taken. Definitive diagnosis depends on identification of the pathogen or toxic material found in the individual.
Although tests are available, in mild to moderate cases of viral and most bacterial food poisoning, tests are not usually done because of the expense and the likelihood that symptoms will resolve before the tests are completed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2015
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