Food Borne Illnesses Increasing Nationwide

Improper handling and preparation of food is a serious issue. Food borne illnesses, often referred to as food poisoning, can be caused by dangerous bacteria on our food. A recent report conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that certain forms of food borne illness are on the rise and that food borne illnesses as a whole have increased in recent years. The study analyzed rates of infection for the period from 2006 to 2008 and compared it to the data from 2012. The consequences of the increase are difficult to quantify.

The single largest contributor to the increase in food borne illnesses is a bacterium called Vibrio. Infections stemming from this pathogen increased by 43 percent in the given time period. Vibrio is generally associated with raw shellfish. It can be life threatening and is particularly problematic for people with liver disease.

In addition to the rise in Vibrio infections, a bacterium called Campylobacter also showed a marked increase. These infections rose by 14 percent in 2012. That bacteria is generally found in poultry, produce, raw milk and contaminated water. A Campylobacter infection is generally milder than a Vibrio infection, but can still cause fever, diarrhea and vomiting lasting roughly one week.

When food is not cleaned or cooked properly, bacteria and other harmful substances can infiltrate the body and cause a number of symptoms. Depending on the bacteria and the severity of the infection, a consumer might suffer diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, cramping, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases, death.

Source: Medical News Today, “Rates Of Foodborne Illness Cases On The Rise,” by Kelly Fitzgerald, 18 April 2013