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The best way to prevent a bacterial, parasitic or viral gastrointestinal infection is not to drink water or eat food that may be contaminated and to be careful with sanitation measures, such as hand washing. Food that might be contaminated, such as raw meats and eggs, should be cooked thoroughly. Cooked foods and foods that are served raw should not touch any surfaces that may have been contaminated.

When you are travelling in developing countries it is best to drink only bottled water, carbonated drinks, and hot cooked foods. Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables, limiting yourself to those that you can peel yourself. Food from street stalls is generally not considered safe.

If someone in your household has a diarrhoeal infection, careful hand washing by all family members is recommended. It is best if the infected person does not prepare food or drink for others until the infection is over.

In Australia reports by laboratory microbiologists to the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre and notification of infectious disease from doctors form the foundation of communicable disease surveillance. Other than in travel related cases, public health officials will want to try to determine where your infection came from so that they can address any potential concerns. For instance, if your infection is due to contaminated food served at a restaurant or to a contaminated public water supply, steps will need to be taken to prevent the spread of the infection.

Last Review Date: January 2, 2018