Types of Foodborne Illnesses
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Georgians suffer from food poisoning. Although most people recover within a few days without the need for serious medical attention, every year nearly 130,000 Americans contract foodborne illnesses that require hospitalization.
This number is especially concerning when one considers that more than half of foodborne illnesses are caused by viral pathogens that have no cure. By being aware of the types of foodborne pathogens and their risks, you can be better prepared to protect yourself and your family.Most Common Pathogens Causing Food Poisoning
“Food poisoning” is a general term applied to a large variety of illnesses caused by infections transmitted through improperly prepared or cooked foods. About half of foodborne illnesses are viral in origin, while about a third are caused by bacterial infections.
The CDC estimates that about 90 percent of food poisoning incidents are caused by seven common pathogens.
- Norovirus Gastroenteritis: This is the most common pathogen causing food poisoning in the United States. It is a highly contagious disease caused by the Norwalk virus family. Noroviruses can sometimes result in a chronic gastrointestinal disorder known as Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Generally, norovirus does not cause serious complications.
- Salmonellosis: This is the second most common foodborne illness, and it is one of the most serious. Salmonella is the leading cause of death among all foodborne pathogens. It is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by various species of Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella has gained particular notoriety, because it has caused the worst food poisoning outbreaks in the past two decades.
- Perfringens Poisoning: Perfringens isenteric disease caused by the bacterium Colostridium perfrigens. The bacterium does not actually infect humans, but rather secretes an enzyme that is poisonous. Therefore, it cannot be spread from person to person, but it can make a person who eats meat from infected animals very sick. It is usually mild and not life threatening.
- Campylobacteriosis: It is aninfectious disease caused by the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni. This infection can lead to a serious disorder known as Guillain–Barre Syndrome, which affects the peripheral nervous system.
- Listeriosis: This is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Listeriosis infections are generally not serious in adults, but it can be particularly serious when contracted by pregnant women because it can cause stillbirth or premature labor or harm the baby.
- Hemorrhagic Colitis: This infectious disease is known more commonly simply as E. Coli. It is primarily caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli O157:H7. Coli infections can lead to a serious complication known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and can be particularly serious when contracted by children. While not as common as other foodborne illnesses, it has caused notorious outbreaks, including several in Georgia.
- Toxoplasmosis: This is an infectious disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. It is the only common parasite that causes food poisoning in the United States. Toxoplasmosis is also particularly dangerous to pregnant women, because it can be transmitted to the fetus, causing complications.
Although there are other diseases that can cause food poisoning, almost all cases are caused by these pathogens, making them the most dangerous. Hepatitis A is also a very serious disease that can be contracted through consuming improperly prepared food, but it is much less common today, because children are vaccinated against it. Without the vaccine, Hepatitis A can be one of the most deadly foodborne pathogens.
Most of these illnesses will go away within a few days without treatment, but some bacterial infections can be treated through antibiotics. There are also medications to kill parasites. There are no cures for viral diseases, and Hepatitis A is the only foodborne virus with a vaccine. In general, if you or someone you love has contracted food poisoning, it is vital to see a doctor to receive treatment.Van Sant Law, Is Here to Help
Suffering from food poisoning can be a traumatic and costly experience. If you or someone you love has contracted one of these diseases due to contaminated or improperly prepared food, fill out our free, no-obligation online contact form, or call us at 404-991-5950 at Van Sant Law, to get the compensation you deserve. Our experienced Georgia food poisoning attorneys want you to receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
Please Note: An Overnight Hospital Stay Is A Requirement For Our Firm To Accept Any Food Poisoning Case.