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Pathophysiology of infective diarrhoea

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Infective organisms are able to cause diarrhoea in a variety of ways:

  • mucosal damage caused by direct attack
  • toxin production after ingestion
  • toxin production before ingestion

The diarrhoea itself can be:

  • secretory, where deranged membrane transport results in decreased electrolyte absorption and thus decreased water absorption
  • decreased absorption, itself a result of mucosal damage, osmosis, or increased gut motility

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