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Forewarned is forearmed

Forewarned is forearmed

Forewarned is forearmed

Date: April 04, 2016

Following on from my previous blog regarding ‘tips to avoid food poisoning’ on holiday, I now write to offer advice on the types of food poisoning to watch out for.

The most common types appear below along with details of their most common sources and symptoms. Some symptoms can start soon after the food involved was eaten. Others take several days to take effect. While some forms of the illness clear up after a couple of days, others can linger for weeks and be carried in the body for months:

Campylobacter

This is the most common food poisoning bug and is nicknamed the 'barbecue bug'.

Campylobacter

Sources: Mostly undercooked poultry and burgers and shellfish.

Symptoms: Headaches, dizziness and fever followed by severe stomach pains and diarrhoea, which may be bloody. Vomiting is rare. Occasionally pains are so severe that sufferers are misdiagnosed as having appendicitis.

How long before symptoms occur?  Anything from one to ten days. The illness can last from a day to more than a week. Full recovery can take several weeks.

Salmonella

Salmonella

Sources: Raw eggs, raw meat and poultry.

Symptoms: Fever, vomiting and stomach pains. In severe cases septicaemia or peritonitis - an acute inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdomen.

How long before symptoms occur?  Usually between 12 and 48 hours, but up to four days. You could be ill for up to three weeks and carry the bug for another three months.

E coli

E coli

Sources: Raw and undercooked meats, unpasteurised milk and dairy products, unpasteurised apple juice and raw vegetables.

Symptoms: Diarrhoea, which may be bloody, stomach pains and sometimes vomiting. E coli 0157 produces a powerful poison called verocytotoxin which can cause kidney failure and death.

How long before symptoms occur? Between 12 hours and three days. The length of time the illness lasts depends from person to person, but young children and the elderly are most likely to be badly affected

Listeria

Listeria

Sources: Cheeses, especially soft ripe cheeses such as Brie and Camembert, poultry, meat, pate and salads.

Symptoms: Range from flu-like symptoms to meningitis and septicaemia. This bug is particularly dangerous for pregnant women as it can cause miscarriage or be passed on to the unborn baby.

How long before symptoms occur?  From three to 70 days. Duration varies.

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium

Sources: Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite found in contaminated water.

Symptoms: It has been increasingly recognized as the cause of outbreaks of diarrhoea when water supplies become contaminated.

How long before symptoms occur? In normal individuals, it is a self-limited disease. Among immunocompromised individuals, cryptosporidium can cause severe diarrhoeal disease, gallbladder disease (cholecystitis), and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

Laurence Daniels