Foodborne Illness

I will be discussing the bacteria Salmonella. Salmonella was discovered by an American scientist by the name of Salmon. The germs have caused illnesses for over 100 years. Thousands of cases are reported each year in the United States. The two most common bacteria causing this illness are Salmonella serotype Entertidis and Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and are more common in the summer rather than the winter. Approximately 400 people, the most susceptible being young children and the elderly, die each year to acute salmonellosis. Children under the age of five are the majority of cases reported amongst all ages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors the frequency of Salmonella infections in the country and assists the local and state health departments in investigating outbreaks and devising control measures. May 14, 2013.

Salmonella can be transmitted through food or water, depending on how the foods were handled. Feces may come into contact with poultry or raw meat when the animal is butchered. Seafood could be contaminated by harvesting in contaminated water. Raw eggs can be contaminated before the hard shell is formed and raw eggs are used in the making of mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce. Fresh produce can be contaminated if they are washed in contaminated water. If poultry or raw meat comes into contact with foods that are uncooked this could lead to contamination. Some pets may carry salmonella and a person needs to wash their hands after having contact in order to reduce the risk of contamination. Everyone should always wash their hands after having contact with any reptile or bird.

On October 5, 2012 the CDC announced a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport. These infections were linked to cantaloupe. A total of 228 people infected with Salmonella Typhimurium and 33 people were infected with Salmonella Newport across 24 states. Out of the total of 261 people 94 were hospitalized. Three deaths were reported in Kentucky. Cantaloupe originating from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. of Owensville, Indiana, was the source of the outbreak. October 9, 2012. According to the CDC the Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. was only one contributing farm to this outbreak. They voluntarily asked stores they had initially shipped to including the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin to remove their melons as a precaution against further contamination.

Salmonella can only be identified by testing a stool sample from a potentially infected person. Once Salmonella has been identified the lab can then determine which type. Some of the symptoms of infection are fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, all of which occurs 12 to 72 hours after initial infection. Salmonella infections usually last from four to seven days. Most people infected recover without seeking treatment. Some cases have reported severe diarrhea causing individuals to be hospitalized. Usually when a patient has severe diarrhea the infection may have spread from the intestines into the blood stream. If left untreated the infection could spread to other organs and areas in the body and could lead to death. In the event of severe diarrhea the patient will need to be rehydrated with intravenous fluids.

There are many ways to aid in the reduced risk of Salmonella by thoroughly cooking beef and poultry. Avoid consumption of raw eggs or unpasteurized milk. Keeps hands clean and all utensils used in preparing these food items to avoid cross contamination. Unfortunately there is no vaccine for Salmonella. Never eat raw or undercooked poultry, eggs, or beef as these foods may have been contaminated prior to shipping. Contamination can be cooked out of these food types as long as foods are cooked properly. Anyone who is infected should not prepare or serve any foods or beverages until their diarrhea as passed. Keep meats on the bottom shelf of refrigerators away from fresh produce to avoid cross contamination from direct contact or dripping. Always wash hands after contact with pets and reptiles before making contact with others or your own mouth.

Content source:? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention