Sunday, April 22, 2007

Facts About Foodborne Illnesses

What Are Foodborne Illnesses?

Foodborne illnesses are caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Different microbes and pathogens can contaminate foods, in addition to other contaminants such as poisonous chemicals or harmful substances from food-production plants, equipment or food-handling workers.

There are many kinds of foodborne illnesses which are usually caused by different bacteria or other pathogens on food. They can affect a person by displaying many flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or fever. Pathogens refers to bacteria that cause disease or an illness. When certain pathogens enter food, they can cause serious foodborne illnesses.

Which Are Common Foodborne Illnesses?

There are a few commonly recognised foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria and pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli.

Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are bacterial pathogens that can cause Campylobacteriosis, with symptoms of fever, severe abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea. Typical foods which can be affected are: chicken, raw milk, pork and drinking water. Sources of transmission include eating raw/undercooked poultry, cross-contamination with raw poultry meat, contamination with untreated water and contact with live animals and birds.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can be found in many domestic and wild animals like poultry, pigs, cattles and home pets. Ingestion of infected food sources can cause Salmonellosis with symptoms of fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Typical foods which can be affected are: raw and undercooked eggs, meat and poultry as well as raw milk. Sources of transmission include consumption of infected food sources, cross-contamination owing to poor hygiene (e.g. faeces of an infected animal/person) and prolonged storage at temperatures at which the organism can grow.

Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium botulinum is a bacterial toxin that causes Botulism. Its symptoms are vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, blurred vision which can eventually lead to paralysis and respiratory or heart failure. Typical foods which can be affected are: vegetables, condiments, fish and meat products. Honey is also a mode of transmission in infant Botulism. Sources of transmission include ingestion of the toxin in foods, raw or under-processed foods stored in ideal conditions for growth of the organism and faulty preservation of food (e.g. canning, fermentation, curing).

Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria monocytogenes is a psychrotrophic bacteria that causes Listeriosis. Symptoms of this foodborne illness include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and occasionally gastrointestinal symptoms. Typical foods which can be affected are: raw milk products, meat-based paste, raw vegetables and soft cheese. Sources of transmission include contamination from soil and infected animals or drinking under-pasteurised milk.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)
Escherichia coli is bacterial pathogen and are msotly found in the gatrointestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals. However, consumption of food or water contaminated with faecal material can cause E.coli infections. Its symptoms are varying to the many strains of E.coli. Vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps, fever and dysentery can occur ranging to severe and bloody diarrhoea and painful abdominal cramps. In some cases, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which includes anaemia, profuse bleeding and kidney failure can occur several weeks after the intial symptoms. Typical foods which can be affected are: minced meat, raw milk and vegetables. Sources of transmission include from huamn fecal contamination via water ot secondary tranmission from person-to-person.


World Health Organisation. (2000). A Focus For Health : Foodborne Disease. Geneva: World Health Organisation

Dean O. Cliver, Ph.D. (1999). Eating Safely: Avoiding Foodborne Illnesses. Caifornia, Davis: American Council on Science and Health.


Blogger bala murugan said...

Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!

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July 18, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Blogger Alvaro said...

This "campylobacter" posting, completely useful..

November 23, 2011 at 5:12 AM


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