Antibiotics for Intestinal Bacterial Infection

Prescription of antibiotics for intestinal bacterial infection mainly depends on several symptoms and causes. Several bacteria known as food poisoning bacteria cause bacterial intestinal infection or gastroenteritis or food poisonings. No antibiotics are suggested for simple infection. But in case of acute infection, physicians suggest several antibiotics for intestinal bacterial infection.


If you experience a severe intestinal infection, you should consult with your doctor to get suggestions of antibiotics for intestinal bacterial infection. You should not rely on any article to find antibiotics for intestinal bacterial infection. Doctors suggest antibiotics for intestinal bacterial infection on the basis of their types and causes.

Antibiotics for Intestinal Bacterial Infection:

Traveller’s diarrhea:

Traveller’s diarrhea occurs during the first 2-3 week of a tour, when the travellers consume contaminated foods and drinks. Travellers diarrhea is a self-limiting infection. Less than 1% of patients get admitted into hospital.
Only rehydration is recommended for the patients with traveller’s diarrhea.
Although several antibiotics are used to treat several cases of travellers diarrhea. These antibiotics are:

  • ciprofloxacin,
  • azithromycin,
  • rifaximin,
  • levofloxacin.

Levofloxacin is effective for traveller’s diarrhea. Although azithromycin is more effective than it.

Several antibiotic is also prescribed for traveller’s diarrhea patients. But they show resistance in some cases. These are:

  • ampicillin
  • trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
  • doxycycline.


Several non-typhoidal bacteria cause salmonellosis. They are Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. The first one has several serotypes such as Salmonella enterica serotypes Enteritidis Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhimurium, Salmonella enterica serotypes Newport and  Salmonella enterica serotypes Heidelberg.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, bloody stools, fever, and headache.

Antibiotics used for salmonellosis are:

  • Fluoroquinolones- ciprofloxacin
  • Ampicillin
  • Azithromycin
  • Third generation cephalosporins- cefotaxime

Normal patients should use these antibiotics for 7-10 days and immunocompromised people should take these antibiotics for 14 days.




Three serogroups of Shigella (Serogroup A-C: S. dysenteriae, S.  flexneri, S. boydii)and one serotype (Serogroup D: S. sonnei) cause shigellosis.

Symptoms of Shigellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

Antibiotics used for shigellosis are:

  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Azithromycin
  • Third generation cephalosporins- cefotaxime



Campylobacter jejuni cause Campylobacteriosis.

Symptoms of Campylobacteriosis include abdominal cramps, bloating and fever.

Antibiotics used for Campylobacteriosis are:

  • Macrolides- Azithromycin, Clarithromycin
  • Fluoroquinolone- Ciprofloxacin



Yersinia enterocolitica cause yersinosis.

Symptoms of Yersiniosis include fever, vomiting, stomach pain, and bloody diarrhea.  Patients with this infection don’t need to take antimicrobial therapy. But in case of severe infection, patients must take the following antibiotics.

  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Doxycycline
  • Ampicillin
  • Combination of doxycycline and gentamicin.
  • Third generation cephalosporins- cefotaxime.


In most cases, patients get recovered from yersiniosis without any treatment.




Listeria monocytogenes commonly found on food causes listeriosis. This infection often causes a high mortality rate. So patients need effective treatment.

Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever, diarrhea and muscle aches.

Antibiotics used for Listeriosis are:

  • Ampicillin
  • Or a combination of ampicillin with gentamicin.

Other antibiotics which are of the second choice for this infection include:

  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
  • Erythromycin
  • Vancomycin and
  • Fluoroquinolone.

Cephalosporin doesn’t work properly against Listeria.




Vibrio cholerae cause cholera. Consumption of foods and drinks contaminated by this bacteria cause cholera.

Symptoms of cholera include watery diarrhea, rice-water stools, vomiting, dry mouth, and rapid heart rate. Vibrio bacteria show resistance to co-trimoxazole, tetracycline, and doxycycline.

Antibiotics used for cholera are:

  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Azithromycin

Several antibiotics such as co-trimoxazole, tetracycline, or doxycycline were also recommended. But due to growing antibiotic resistance, they are not used nowadays.

E. coli associated diarrhea:

The most discussed E. coli strain is E. coli O157: H7. Other strains that cause intestinal infections are Enterotoxic/enteropathogenic E. coli (ETEC, EPEC), Enteroinvasive/ enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EIEC, EHEC), Shiga toxin producing or verocytotoxin producing E. coli (STEC/VTEC)

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, Watery diarrhea (in severe cases rice water stool) vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and malaise.

Antibiotics used for this infection are:

  • Ciprofloxacin,
  • Azithromycin,
  • Rifaximin



Clostridium difficle cause clostridial infection. This is a food poisoning bacterium.

Symptoms of clostridial infetion include watery diarrhea (three times a day or ten times for mild or acute infection respectively), abdominal pain, rapid heart rate, bloody stool, and fever.

Antibiotics used for shigellosis are:

  • Metronidazole
  • Vancoycin and
  • Fidaxomicin



Taking probiotics helps you maintain better gut health and prevent intestinal bacterial infection or gastroenteritis. Probiotics regulate the gut bacteria to keep in balance and thus improve gut health.

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2 thoughts on “Antibiotics for Intestinal Bacterial Infection”

  1. Dose guidelines for each affliction, for age, weight and sex would be most helpful.

  2. Any word on treating Clostridioides difficile or C-diff? Or is it the same as the CDI you mentioned above?

    I was afflicted with it at the bottom part of last year and was put on a very expensive antibiotic. I have recovered from the infection but IMHO, the cure would probably be out of reach for most folks if they do not have insurance.

    You are correct about taking probiotics; that was one of the first things my GI doctor asked if I was taking.

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