Food poisoning is a gastrointestinal disorder caused
Did you know that in the UK on average 2 million
people a year suffer from an illness such as vomiting/ diarrhoea due to
food poisoning. However most people do not get help from their local GP
or seek advice.
A bacteria called Campylobacter
is the most commonly found (about 40,000 cases annually).These are found
the next most commonly found group of bacteria (about 30,000 per annum).
They can be found in
Some variants of normal intestinal bacteria are
a cause of food poisoning. A particularly severe type is caused
Vomiting / diarrhoea are classified as the
common symptoms however fever, abdominal pain or blood in the stools may
As quick as a few hours of the contaminated food
being eaten, up to days before the effects of food poisoning can take
Foods which are linked with food poisoning don't
have to be avoided since Salmonella,
Most food borne infections resolve without medical attention. Depending on the type of bacterial infection antibiotics may be prescribed in some cases. Before doing this, the doctor will usually require a stool specimen for analysis, in order to discover which particular bacterium is responsible.
Dehydration caused by diarrhoea and vomiting should be treated immediately with oral rehydration solutions available over the counter at chemists. If these preparations are not available, you can make your own using a generous pinch of salt (1.5gram) and a teaspoon of sugar stirred into a glass of fruit juice or water (250ml).
This is particularly important for
infants and young children. If the illness lasts more than a few days
or there is blood in the stools, medical advice should be sought urgently.
Much is known about the organisms
that cause food poisoning. Building on this knowledge, doctors and scientists
are currently researching ways to diagnose infections more rapidly and
to develop vaccines against them. Greater understanding of the mechanisms
involved in the transmission of food borne infectious disease is very
important in improving standards of public health.
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