Food poisoning is acute gastroenteritis caused by the consumption of a food material or a drink that contains the pathogenic microorganism or its toxins or poisonous chemicals. Food poisoning is common in hostels, hotels, communal feedings, and festival seasons.

A group of persons will be affected with the same type of symptoms, and they give a history of consumption of a common food before a few hours.

Types of food poisoning

1) Bacterial food poisoning:

Here the microorganisms called bacteria are responsible. The food material may contain pathogenic bacteria or their toxin and will be ingested along with the food.

2) Nonbacterial food poisoning:

Due to the presence of toxic chemicals like fertilizers, insecticides, heavy metals, and ect.

Since bacterial food poisoning is common it is discussed here.

Bacterial food poisoning:

All bacteria are not harmful. Some pathogenic bacteria secrete toxins and cause clinical manifestations. These organisms enter the human body through food articles or drinks.

How food poisoning occurs:

1) Presence of bacteria in the water.

2) The raw materials for the food may contain toxins.

3) Premises, where the food is prepared, may contain microorganisms or toxins.

4) Food handlers may have some infectious diseases.

5) Some animals like dogs, rats may contaminate the food.

6) If prepared food is kept at room temperature for a long time and heated again can make a chance for food poisoning.

7) Purposely somebody mixes toxins in the food.

Some common bacterial food poisonings.

1) Salmonella food poisoning:

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 diarrhea. Fever is also common.

2) Botulism:

This is a 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 ect. Compared to other food poisonings here vomiting and diarrhea 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.

3) Staphylococcal food poisoning:

It is caused by staphylococcus aureus. These organisms usually cause skin troubles like boils and eruptions. It causes mastitis in cows. Through the milk and milk products, it enders and causes gastroenteritis. There will be vomiting, abdominal cramps with diarrhea.

4) 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,s and eggs ect. If food articles are cooked and kept at room temperature for a long time and heated again before eating can result in this food poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

5) Bacillus cereus:

The spores of these organisms can survive cooking and cause enteritis. Diarrhea and vomiting are common in this infection.

How to investigate food poisoning?

1) Examine every person affected.

2) Water sample should be tested.

3) Kitchen, store room, and food samples should be examined.

4) The cook and food handlers should be questioned and examined.

5) Samples of vomitus and stool of all victims should be tested to identify the bacteria.

How to prevent food poisoning:-

1) Only purified water should be used.

2) Hygiene should be maintained by all persons keeping contact with food.

3) Workers should use masks, caps, and gloves during cooking and serving.

4) Sick individuals should not come in contact with food materials.

5) Kitchen and premises should be neat and clean.

5) Vessels should be washed with soap and hot water.

6) Should not keep the prepared food for a long time at room temperature.

7) All food materials should be kept in closed containers.

8) Animals like dogs, cats, rats ect should not come in contact with food materials.

9) Vegetables should be washed before cooking.

10) Meat should be fresh and should be purchased from the recognized slaughterhouse.

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