Food poisoning update

Food Poisoning can cause diarrhoea

Food poisoning has hit the headlines again.

Caused by toxins such as bacteria, parasites or viruses, some food poisoning cases can be fatal.

Here’s what you can do to avoid it.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is characterised by symptoms, which usually include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The similarity of the symptoms often complicates diagnosis. A thorough investigation of a patient’s medical history and of foodstuffs recently consumed, will often assist the medical practitioner in making the correct diagnosis. It is important to do this, as different infections may require different treatments.

The severity of the symptoms experienced is usually closely related to the victim’s age, medical history and general state of health. It can happen that two people who ingest the same infected foodstuff may be affected in very different ways. In severe cases of food poisoning, dehydration and kidney damage could occur.

The 2011 outbreak of Escherichia coli in Europe, is a good example, of the virulence of some of the pathogens that cause food poisoning. At the present moment more than 2000 individuals have been taken ill and 22 or more fatalities have been reported (News24, 2011).

The patients who succumbed to the E. coli infection developed haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and nervous system, and prove fatal (Kennedy, 2011). Such severely affected patients may require hospitalisation and dialysis.

Make sure you don’t cause food poisoning, food safety training is at