Have you ever contracted food poisoning? How long does food poisoning last in your own case in terms of the symptoms you experience? Anyway, food poisoning duration depends on the source of the poisoning, food poisoning onset, and whether it was caused by a micro-organism such as bacteria, virus and fungal organisms or toxic substances.

According to, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates approximately 48 million people become ill from food-related diseases each year resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths.

How long does food poisoning last
How long does food poisoning last

Food poisoning onset is not easy to determine especially if the patient affected has been severely affected to a point he/she couldn’t answer for him/herself, or if the source is via toxic substances but in cases where micro-organisms are involved the following table may help you to determine how fast it may start showing symptoms.

Organisms Name of the illness Onset Time Symptoms Food poisoning duration
Bacillus cereus B. cereus food poisoning 10-16 hrs Abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea, nausea. 24-48 hrs
Campylobacter jejuni Campylobacteriosis 2-5 days Diarrhea, cramps, fever, and vomiting; occasional bloody diarrhea. 2-10 days
Botulism 12-72 hrs Vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty in swallowing, muscle weakness. Can result in respiratory failure and death Variable
Perfringens food
8–16 hrs Intense abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea Usually 24
Cryptosporidium Intestinal
2-10 days Diarrhea (usually watery), stomach cramps, upset stomach, slight fever May be remitting and relapsing over weeks to months
Cyclosporiasis 1-14 days, usually at least 1 week Diarrhea (usually watery), loss of appetite, substantial loss of weight, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fatigue. May be remitting and relapsing over weeks to months


Table culled from Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) website.

According to a Wikipedia statistics, virus-mediated food poisoning cases make up about one-third of all food poisoning cases in developed countries while in the USA, about 50% of all cases are caused by viruses, noroviruses specifically. Hepatitis B virus for instance have a long incubation period of about 2-6weeks.

When you start having the following signs, see your doctor:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Fainting spell
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stool

How fast you seek for medical help will determine how long food poisoning will last. It may lead to coma if signs of complications are not urgently attended to. Persistent diarrhea for instance may lead to severe dehydration with severe consequences if it lingers for too long.

Seeking urgent medical help will help to determine the duration of food poisoning.

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