A measurable fever is not necessary to diagnose food poisoning. However, most organisms that cause food poisoning will also trigger a fever. This reaction may be mild enough that it is barely noticeable. In more serious cases, an individual's temperature may rise by a few degrees. Fevers occur when an individual's core body temperature becomes higher than normal.
Pyrogens are substances that produce a fever. One of the immune system's many responses is to release a flood of pyrogens into the bloodstream when it detects that an individual's body is fighting off an illness. The presence of pyrogens causes a rise in core body temperature. As soon as this temperature rises, the overall activity level of white blood cells significantly increases. This means that they are more actively capable of fighting the infection.
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