Bacterial Food Poisoning: Symptoms, Prevention, Causes & Treatment.

Written by SouravBio · 8 minutes read >

Facts of Bacterial Food Poisoning

  • In United State, bacterial food poisoning is a common disease. According to the CDC, between 24 to 81 million peoples in U.S. affected by bacterial food poisoning each year.
  • The most common symptoms of bacterial food poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Most of the symptoms of bacterial food poisoning are related to gastrointestinal tract.
  • Bacterial food poisoning can be prevented by proper handling and care of food products.
  • Bacterial food Poisoning caused by several types of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc.
  • Bacterial food poisoning is mild and It can be recovered without treatment but in some cases, it becomes serious and patient needs to go to the hospital.
  • Most of the cases bacterial food poisoning is caused by bacteria. There are present several types of bacteria that are responsible for food poisoning such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Bacillus cereus, and Entero-pathogenic Escherichia coli.

What is Bacterial Food Poisoning?

  • Bacterial Food Poisoning also is known as foodborne illness or foodborne disease, which is caused by eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food.
  • Chemicals or bacterial toxins can contaminate the food during food processing or improper handling of food.
  • The symptoms of bacterial food poisoning started to Reveal within a few hours after eating contaminated food.

Causes of Bacterial Food Poisoning

Bacterial food poisoning mainly occurs by eating contaminated foods. the contamination of food with the bacterial toxin or chemicals can be occurred by;

  • Poor hygiene in the food processing area.
  • Improper food handling.
  • By eating Half-Cooked food.
  • By eating-spoiled food.
  • By eating refrigerator foods.
  • By eating canned food.
  • By eating raw eggs.
  • By eating raw meat.
  • By drinking unpasteurized milk.
  • By eating ready-to-eat foods.
  • Leaving cooked food for a long time without covering it.

Symptoms of Bacterial Food Poisoning

Figure: Symptoms of Bacterial Food Poisoning| Image Source: freepik

If you have bacterial food poisoning, you probably won’t go unnoticed. Symptoms of bacterial food poisoning may vary depending on the source type of the infection. The time it takes for symptoms to develop also depends on the source type of the infection, but can take time from 1 hour to 28 days. The symptoms of bacterial food poisoning is discussed in below;

In mild cases:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  • Neurological symptoms such as blurry vision, muscle weakness and tingling in the arms.

In severe cases:

  • Bloody vomit or stools
  • Diarrhea for more than three days
  • Body temperature higher than 101.5°F
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Most of the cases bloody urine appears.

Prevention of Bacterial Food Poisoning

We can prevent the bacterial food poisoning by this following steps;

  • Wash your hand before and after cooking.
  • maintaining proper hygiene during food processing.
  • wash your hand before serving food.
  • Sterilize or clean all the surfaces in the kitchen.
  • Avoid direct eating canned food.
  • Before serving canned food, heat it above 140 degrees F.
  • Store foods below 40 degrees F.
  • Serve foods immediately after cooking.
  • Avoid eating raw foods.
  • Remember most of the food poisoning bacteria grow between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking.
  • Cooked at high temperature.
  • food preparation surfaces should be cleaned.

Also Read: Virulence Factors or Factors Responsible for Pathogenicity of a Pathogens

Treatment of Bacterial Food Poisoning

Bacterial food poisoning can be treated by these following tips;

  • Provide electrolytes to maintain good hydration.
  • Use medicine to control nausea and vomiting.
  • Use oral rehydration drinks to replace lost salts and minerals.
  • Replace fluids intravenously in severe cases.
  • Use antibiotics and anti-nausea drugs
  • Provide anti-diarrhoeal medications
  • Keep in observation to control the body temperature.

Bacterial Food Poisoning Causative Agent

There are present different types of bacteria which are responsible for bacterial food poisoning such as;

Staphylococcus aureus

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is the Nose and throat of 30 to 50 percent of the healthy population; also skin and superficial wounds.
  • Incubation Time: Takes 1 to 6 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found Meat and seafood salads, sandwich spreads, and high salt foods.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea within 4 to 6 hours. No fever.
  • Cause: It can occur due to poor personal hygiene and subsequent temperature abuse.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria exhibit no growth below 40° F, and the bacteria can be destroyed by normal cooking but the toxin will remain because it is heat-stable.
  • The Source of staphylococcus aureus is respiratory passages, skin, and superficial wounds of Men.
  • In food, S. aureus produces a soluble and heat-stable toxin which is responsible for food poisoning.
  • When foods are left at room temperature for long periods of time, it helps the staphylococcus aureus to grow and produce toxin.

Salmonella

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is intestinal tracts of animals and man
  • Incubation Time: Takes 1 to 3 days to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found High protein foods – meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are Diarrhea nausea, chills, vomiting, and fever within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Cause: It can occur due to the Contamination of ready-to-eat foods, insufficient cooking, and recontamination of cooked foods.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria exhibit no growth below 40° F, and the bacteria can be destroyed by normal cooking.
  • The most common source of Salmonella is the gastrointestinal tracts of animals and man.
  • Salmonella is mostly associated with protein-containing foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
  • Salmonella can be destroyed by cooking food at 150 degrees F.

Also Read:Transmission of Diseases

Clostridium perfringens

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is Dust, soil and gastrointestinal tracts of animals and man.
  • Incubation Time: Takes 8 to 16 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found Meat and poultry dishes, sauces and gravies
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are cramps and diarrhea within 12 to 24 hours. No vomiting or fever.
  • Cause: It can occur due to the Improper temperature control of hot foods, and recontamination.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria exhibit no growth below 40° F, and the bacteria can be destroyed by normal cooking, but a heat-stable spore can survive.
  • It produces a spore and prefers a low oxygen atmosphere. Live cells must be ingested.
  • If cooked food is kept between 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F for a long time, it will help C. perfringens to increase their number.

Clostridium botulinum

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is Soil, plants, marine sediments, and fish.
  • Incubation Time: Takes 12 to 72 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found in Home-canned foods.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are Blurred vision, respiratory distress, and possible death.
  • Cause: It can occur due to the Improper methods of home-processing foods.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Type E botulinum toxin and Type B botulinum toxin can grow at 38° F. Clostridium botulinum can be destroyed by cooking and the toxin is destroyed by boiling in high temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, but Heat-resistant spore can survive.
  • Clostridium botulinum caused death in approximately 30 percent of the cases.
  • It produces a spore and requires a low oxygen atmosphere. Produces a heat-sensitive toxin.
  • C. botulinum produces a neurotoxin, which is responsible for bacterial food poisoning.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is Fish and shellfish.
  • Incubation Time: It takes up to 1 to 7 days to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found in Raw and cooked seafood.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are Diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, headache, and fever.
  • Cause: It can occur due to the Recontamination of cooked foods or eating raw seafood.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria shows no growth below 40° F, and this Bacteria can be killed by normal cooking.
  • V. parahaemolyticus is mostly found on seafood.
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus requires a salt environment for growth.
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a major problem in Japan where many seafoods are consumed raw.

Bacillus cereus

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is Soil, dust, and spices.
  • Incubation Time: It takes up to 12 to 24 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found in Starchy food.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are a mild case of diarrhea and some nausea.
  • Cause: It can occur due to the improper holding and storage temperatures after cooking,
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria shows no growth below 40° F, and this Bacteria can be killed by normal cooking, but heat-resistant spore can survive.
  • This bacteria produces a spore and grows in a normal oxygen atmosphere.
  • If the food is stored in improper temperature then B. cereus can produce a large number of cells.

Also Read:Nosocomial Infection and its Prevention, Source, Transmission

Listeria monocytogenes

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is Soil, vegetation and water. Can survive for long periods in soil and plant materials.
  • Incubation Time: It takes up to 9 to 48 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found in Milk, soft cheeses, vegetables fertilized with manure.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are Mimics meningitis. Immuno-compromised individuals are most susceptible.
  • Cause: It can occur due to contaminated raw products.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria can grow at refrigeration (38-40° F) temperatures, and can survive minimum pasteurization temperatures (161° F for 15 seconds.)
  • Listeria is responsible for disease listeriosis, which is recognized as the most important food-borne pathogen.
  • Listeria has the ability to grow at refrigeration temperatures.
  • pH ranging from 5.0-9.5 is optimum for the growth of Listeria monocytogenes.
  • Listeria has the capability of doubling in numbers every 1.5 days at 39.5 degrees F.
  • Pregnant women or the elderly are highly susceptible to this virulent species.

Yersinia enterocolitica

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is Poultry, beef, swine. Isolated only in a human pathogen.
  • Incubation Time: It takes up to 9 to 48 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found in Milk, tofu, and pork.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this infection are Diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting. Mimics appendicitis.
  • Cause: It can occur due to Improper cooking. Cross-contamination.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: This bacteria can Grows at refrigeration temperatures (35-40° F), and Sensitive to heat (122° F)
  • Yersinia enterocolitica is responsible for disease Yersiniosis.
  • Yersiniosis takes 1-2 days to recover.
  • Yersinia enterocolitica is involved in illness with very severe symptoms.
  • Children are highly susceptible to Yersinia enterocolitica.
  • Yersinia enterocolitica sensitive to heat (5%) and acidity (pH 4.6).

Campylobacter jejuni

  • Territory: This bacteria found in Animal reservoirs and foods of animal origin.
  • Incubation Time: Takes 2 to 5 days to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: Meat, poultry, milk, and mushrooms.
  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea.
  • Cause: It can occur due to Improper pasteurization or cooking, and Cross-contamination.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Sensitive to drying or freezing. Survives in milk and water at 39° F for several weeks.
  • In 1971 it was first isolated from human diarrhea stools.
  • This bacteria is Oxygen sensitive, does not grow below 86° F.

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli

  • Territory: The main territory or habitat of this bacteria is the feces of infected humans.
  • Incubation Time: It takes up to 9 to 48 hours to develop symptoms.
  • Types of Food: This type of toxin can be found in Hamburgers, nonpasteurized milk, contaminated water, spinach, and lettuce.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this type of bacterial food poisoning are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, no fever.
  • Cause: It can occur due to Inadequate cooking. Recontamination of the cooked product.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Escherichia coil can be controlled by heating. It can grow at refrigeration temperatures.
  • Escherichia coil can produce toxins that are heat stable and others that are heat-sensitive.
  • Escherichia coli associated with the disease travelers’ diarrhea.
  • There are four subgroups of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli such as enterotoxigenic, enteroinvasive, hemorrhagic, and enteropathogenic.
  • Feces and untreated water is a common source of Escherichia coli.

References

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/food-poisoning#prevention
  • https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/food-poisoning
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20356230
  • https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/food-technology/bacterial-food-poisoning/

Writer and Founder of Microbiologynote.com. I am from India and my main purpose is to provide you a strong understanding of Microbiology. Microbiologynote.com shares notes related to different branches of microbiology.

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