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Diarrhea is a syndrome of acute onset of watery diarrhea (3 or more loose stools per day) lasting 4 weeks or longer, which can occur in outbreaks or as sporadic cases. Accompanying symptoms include gas, mild abdominal cramping, and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting, and systemic symptoms such as fever are rare, although many patients experience slight weight loss.

Disease Reporting

Diarrhea is not a reportable condition UNLESS it is caused by Vibrio cholera (cholera) or any other Vibrio species, Campylobacter spp. (campylobacteriosis), Escherichia coli O157, Giardia lamblia (giardiasis), Salmonella spp. (salmonellosis), or Shigella spp. (shigellosis).

Cases are subject to restriction on school and day-care attendance, food handling, and patient care for the duration of any diarrhea and/or vomiting.

In general, restrictions on cases with shigellosis or Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli infection shall not be lifted until results of licensed laboratory tests of two consecutive approved fecal specimens collected not less than 24 hours apart show no identifiable pathogens. These restrictions may be waived or modified at the discretion of the local public health authority.

See Also
The CDC fact sheet on Brainerd diarrhea answers some common questions about diarrhea.