Diarrhoea is the passage of 3 or more loose or liquid stools per day, or more frequently than is normal for the individual. It is usually a symptom of gastrointestinal infection, which can be caused by a variety of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms. Infection is spread through contaminated food or drinking-water, or from person to person as a result of poor hygiene.
Severe diarrhoea leads to fluid loss, and may be life-threatening, particularly in young children and people who are malnourished or have impaired immunity.
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