Food Poisoning

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. In most cases, the food that causes the illness has been contaminated by bacteria or virus.

1.Infectious agents

A.  E.coli –in

undercooked hamburger,

unpasteurized apple juice


raw milk

contaminated water /ice

vegetables fertilized by cow manure

spread from person to person

B.  L. monocytogenes— in

  • Cole slaw
  • dairy products (mostly soft cheeses)
  • cold, processed meats

C.  Salmonella spp.- in

  • poultry
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • dairy products

D.  Shigella spp.—in

  • raw vegetables
  • cool, moist foods ( potato, egg salads)

E.  S. aureus— in

  • salad dressing
  • ham
  • eggs
  • custard filled pastries
  • mayonnaise
  • potato salad

F.  C. jejuni — in

  • raw milk
  • chicken

G.  C. botulinum — in

  • improperly home canned foods (honey, corn syrup)

H.  C. perfringens—  in

  • meat
  • poultry dishes
  • gravies
  • foods (cooked for more than 24 hours)  not reheated well enough

I.  V. cholera—-  in

  • two shelled shellfish ( mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops)
  • raw shellfish
  • crustaceans ( lobsters, shrimp, and crabs)

2. Toxic agents.

Poisonous mushrooms (Amanita phalloides)

Improperly prepared exotic foods

Pesticides on fruits and vegetables

3. Contaminated food

Poor sanitation

Poor preparation

Improperly packaged food stored at the wrong temperature

4. Fish poisoning

Scombroid poisoning

Bacteria in dark meat fish ;tuna, bonito,skipjack,mahi-mahi, mackerel

Ciguatera poisoning in tropical fish grouper, surgeon fish, snapper, barracuda, moray eel, shark

Puffer fish poisoning
Organs and flesh of puffer fish

Shellfish poisoning

5. Diseases

Chronic kidney failure

Liver disease


Sickle cell anemia

6. Medication—



Steroid medicines

7. Weak immune system

8. Pregnant women

9. Age 65 and above

10. Traveling in contaminated area

Food poisoning Sign & Symptoms–

A. General–

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Abdominal cramps
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Head or muscle aches
  6. Fever

B. Specific–

A.  C.botulinum(botulism)


Blurred vision

Sensitivity to light

Double vision

Paralyzed eye nerves

Difficulty speaking and swallowing

Paralysis that spreads downward

Respiratory failure


B.  Salmonella, Shigella spp., C. jejuni—



Bloody diarrhea

C. E. coli—

               hemorrhagic colitis occurring up to 3 days after eating contaminated food

D. Mushroom poisoning—

Stomach upset


Vision difficulties

Heart muscle problems

Kidney failure

Death of liver tissue

Death (if left untreated)

E.  Fish poisoning—




Abdominal pain



F. Ciguatera –

Numbness or tingling around the mouth

Feeling of loose teeth

Impaired touch sensation( hot as cold and cold as hot)


Muscle and joint pain

Slow heart rate

Low blood pressure

G. Pufferfish poisoning—

Numbness or tingling around the mouth

Trouble coordinating movement

Difficulty swallowing

Excess saliva


Loss of ability to talk


Paralysis that spreads upward

Respiratory failure


H.  Shellfish poisoning –

Numbness or tingling around the mouth or in the arms and legs

Trouble swallowing

Difficulty speaking

Food Poisoning Tests—

  1. Vitals Examination

Blood pressure


Breathing rate


2. Rectal examination

3. Urine examination

4. X-Ray (abdomen)

5. CT scan

Food Poisoning Treatment–

Replace fluids and electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride).

Stomach lavage/pumping the stomach


Food Poisoning Complications–

White blood cell problems and kidney problems(shigellosis)

kidney problems and bleeding problems( coli infection)

Respiratory failure (botulism)

Reiter syndrome and inflammation of the heart lining (salmonellosis)

Guillain-Barré syndrome (campylobacteriosis) 

Food Poisoning Prevention—

Wash hands and clean any dishes or utensil( preparing and serving food)

Keep juices from meat, poultry, and seafood away from ready to eat foods.

Cook food to proper temperatures.

Promptly refrigerate any food no to be eating right away.

Dispose of diapers carefully

Follow proper canning techniques(if making canned food at home) 

Don’t eat wild mushrooms.

When traveling where contamination is more likely, eat only hot, freshly cooked food. Boil water before drinking.

 Don’t eat raw vegetables or unpeeled fruit.

Always refrigerate fish.

Don’t eat tropical fish caught during blooms of poison plankton.

Don’t eat shellfish exposed to red tides.

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