Bacteria Food Poisoning: The Safety Secret Almost No One Knows

Bacteria food poisoning is acute gastroenteritis caused by the consumption of food or a drink contaminated with a pathogenic microorganism, their toxins or poisonous chemicals.

Although not all bacteria are harmful. The harmful ones secrete toxins and cause clinical problems. These microorganisms enter the human body through food or drinks.

Bacteria food poisoning usually happens in hostels, hotels, communal feedings, and festive seasons.

symptoms and severity of bacteria food poisoning vary, depending on which bacteria contaminated the food or drink.

Many people at some point in their life have had some experiences with food poisoning by falling sick few minutes or hours after consuming a particular food. The symptoms usually start with:

Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Fever or chills/sweating
  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea feelings
  • Weakness of the body
  • Fever or chills/sweating
  • Headache
  • Watery stools
  • Muscle aches
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Double vision
  • Numbness

Contact your doctor immediately you experience any of the symptoms above.

Common bacterial food poisoning


Salmonella

There are three different varieties of salmonella bacteria. (salmonella Typhimurium, salmonella cholera suis, salmonella enteritidis) These bacteria are present in milk, milk products and eggs. Symptoms of this food poisoning include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Fever is also common.


Botulism

This is the dangerous type of food poisoning caused by clostridium botulinum. The spores of these organisms are seen in the soil and enter the human body through pickles and canned fish. Compared to others here vomiting and diarrhoea are rare mainly, the nervous system is affected. The symptoms start with double vision, numbness with weakness. Later there will be paralysis with cardiac and respiratory failure ending in death.


Staphylococcal

It is caused by staphylococcus aureus. These organisms usually cause skin troubles like boils and eruptions. It causes mastitis in cow. Through the milk and milk products it enters, it causes gastroenteritis. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal cramps with diarrhoea and usually surface between 1 and 8 hours after eating the infected food.


Clostridium

This is caused by clostridium perfringens. They are present in stool, soil and water. They enter the body through meat, meat dishes and egg. If food items are cooked and kept in room temperature for a long time and heated again before eating can result to clinical problems.

Clostridium food poisoning symptoms occur about 12 hours after eating the contaminated food and last about 24 hours.

Symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and sometimes nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can be severe or mild.


Bacillus cereus

Bacillus cereus is a well-known cause of food-borne illness. It is commonly found in the environment, soil and vegetation, and can be present in foods as well. The bacteria can easily multiply at room temperature and the spores can survive cooking heat – thus causing enteritis. Diarrhoea and vomiting is common in this infection.

How does bacteria food poisoning occur?

Proper hygiene has to be deployed during the process of making consumable foods. people involved in the process should handle the cooking material with cleanliness. If not, it could lead to clinical manifestation. Here are ways through which bacteria food poisoning occur;

  • Bacteria can be in the water you want to cook or wash your hand with.
  • The raw materials for the food may contain toxins as result of unhygienic practices.
  • Premises, where the food is prepared, may contain microorganisms or toxins.
  • Sneezing or coughing near the food while handling the food.
  • Food handlers may have some infectious diseases they may contact with during food handling.
  • Some animals like dogs, rats, flies, and other germs carrier may contaminate the food if left uncovered
  • Prepared food kept in the room temperature for long, when reheated can make a chance for food poisoning.
  • Not washing hands after using the toilet during food preparation.

Prevention

  • Wash hands with soap and water thoroughly after using the toilet and before preparing food.
  • Only purified water should be used during and after making the food.
  • Keep leftover foods refrigerated. Heat them until they are steaming hot before eating.
  • Hygiene should be maintained by all persons keeping contact with food.
  • Cooked and raw foods should be kept separately
  • Workers should use masks, cap and gloves during cooking and serving.
  • Sick individuals should not come in contact with food materials.
  • Kitchen and premises should be neat and clean.
  • Vessels should be washed with soap and hot water.
  • Do not keep prepared food for a long time in room temperature.
  • Re-heat deli meats, canned luncheon meats or hot dogs until they are steaming hot before use.
  • All food materials should be kept in closed containers.
  • Animals like dog, cat, rat etc should not come in contact with food materials.
  • Raw vegetables and fruits should be washed before use.
  • Meat should be fresh and should be purchased from a recognized slaughterhouse.
  • Ensure raw meat and eggs are thoroughly cooked.
  • Don’t drink unpasteurised milk.

Bacterial food poisoning should be taken seriously. If symptoms arise especially in the elderly, seek medical help immediately.

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