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What are the effects of exposure to raw sewage?

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Quick Answer

Exposure to raw sewage can cause fever, abdominal pains, diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes death. Campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and typhoid fever are among the many diseases that can be caused by coming into contact with raw sewage.

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Full Answer

Campylobacteriosis is a common diarrheal illness caused by the bacterium Campylobacter, which can be transmitted through contact with contaminated water, undercooked poultry or the stool of an infected cat or dog. Infected individuals experience cramping, abdominal pain and fever.

Salmonellosis is caused by the bacteria group called Salmonella, which is found in animal feces. Most people infected with Salmonella experience abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever that lasts up to a week. In some individuals, the infection can be severe enough to require hospitalization and antibiotics.

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi, which survives only in the intestinal tract and bloodstream of humans and is released in stool. Infected individuals generally experience a high fever, headache, stomach pains, loss of appetite, weakness and a rash. Left untreated, the fever can continue for months and even result in death. With the use of antibiotics, a person can begin to feel better in as little as three days. After the symptoms subside it is important to continue taking the antibiotics for the time prescribed by the doctor, as the illness can still return and be transferred to others.

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