In this week’s Keeping Kids Healthy column by UTMB Drs. Sally Robinson and Keith Bly: Foodborne illnesses are caused by germs or harmful chemicals we eat and drink. Most are caused when certain bacteria, viruses or parasites contaminate food. Others occur when food is contaminated by harmful chemicals or toxins. Since these infections or chemicals enter the body though the stomach and intestines, the most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. Around 100 years ago, typhoid fever, tuberculosis and cholera were some of the most common foodborne illnesses. Now with improved food processing, pasteurization of milk and water treatment, these diseases have been almost eliminated. Today, other bacteria and viruses have become common causes of foodborne illnesses.