Stomach bugs may not only make you feel miserable at the time. Salmonella, E coli and other types of food poisoning may have lifelong consequences.
Studies have revealed that people caught up in food poisoning outbreaks are more likely to develop a host of serious illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and even heart attacks and strokes.
Some, such as kidney damage - thought to be caused by powerful poisons released by the bugs - and arthritis, triggered by a faulty immune response, occur within weeks. Others, such as high blood pressure, take years to appear.
Experts say the chance of the link being coincidental is remote, and are calling for more to be done to identify victims of food poisoning and monitor their long-term health.
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Others say that prevention is vital, with better hand and food hygiene slashing the number of cases of food poisoning.
The journal Scientific American commented: 'It is a scary idea that food poisoning - which we think of as lasting just a few days - could instead have lifelong after-effects.
Almost 90,000 cases of food poisoning are recorded each year in England and Wales, but the true number is likely to be closer to one million, as only a minority of victims will visit their doctor and give a sample that will be logged in the official statistics.
- DAILY MAIL