Food poisoning is an acute gastroenteritis caused by consuming a food material or drink containing pathogenic micro-organisms, toxins, or poisonous chemicals. Food poisoning is common in hotels, during communal feedings, and during festive seasons. A group of persons will be affected with the same type of symptoms, and they give a history of consumption of a typical food for a few hours. The following are the types of food poisoning: Non-bacterial food poisoning Due to the presence of toxic chemicals like fertilizers, insecticides, heavy metals and so on.
Bacterial food poisoning Here the micro-organisms called bacteria are responsible. The food material may contain the pathogenic bacteria or their toxin and will be ingested along with the food. However, all bacteria are not harmful. Some pathogenic bacteria secrete toxins and cause clinical manifestations. These organisms enter the human body through food particles or drinks. Bacterial food poisoning could occur in the following ways:
The raw materials for the food may contain toxins.
Presence of bacteria in the water.
Premises where the food is prepared may contain micro-organisms or toxins.
Food handlers may have some infectious diseases.
Some animals like dogs and rats may contaminate the food.
Prepared food is kept at room temperature for a long time and heated again.
Purposely some body mixes toxins in the food.
Some common bacterial food poisonings:
Botulism: This is a dangerous 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 other food poisonings, 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.
Salmonella food poisoning: There are three different varieties of salmonella bacteria - Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella cholera suis, and 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.
Staphylococcal food poisoning: It is caused by staphylococcus aureus. These organisms usually cause skin troubles like boils and eruptions. It causes mastitis in the cow. The infected milk and milk products then cause gastroenteritis. There will be vomiting and abdominal cramps with diarrhoea.
Clostridium food poisoning: This is caused by clostridium perfringens. They are present in stool, soil and water. They enter the body through meat, meat dishes and egg. Moreover, cooked food kept at room temperature for a long time and heated again before eating can result in this food poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.
Bacillus cereus: The spores of these organisms can survive cooking and causes enteritis. Diarrhoea and vomiting are common in this infection.
How to investigate food poisoning:
Test the Water sample.
Examine every affected person.
Examine kitchen, storeroom and food samples.
Question and examine the cook and food handlers.
Test the vomitus samples and stool of all victims to identify the bacteria.
How to prevent food poisoning: ·
Maintain hygienic contact with food.
Use purified water for drinking and cooking.
Use masks, caps and gloves during cooking and serving (for the cook).
Do not come in contact with food materials if you are unwell.
Keep the kitchen and premises neat and clean.
Wash the vessels with soap and hot water.
Do not keep the prepared food for a long time at room temperature.
Keep all food materials in closed containers.
Keep away your food materials from dogs, cats, and rats.
Wash the vegetables properly before cooking.
Buy fresh Meat items from a recognized slaughterhouse.