Foodborne illness is an infection or irritation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by food or beverages that contain harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. Common foodborne illness symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills.
Most foodborne illnesses are acute, meaning they happen suddenly and last a short time, and most people recover on their own without treatment. Occasionally, foodborne illness may lead to more serious complications. Each year, an estimated 48 million people in the United States experience a foodborne illness. Foodborne illnesses cause 128, 000 hospitalizations and about 3,000 deaths in the United States annually.