Welcome to the Food Borne Disease Site. The sources of the foodborne illness pathogens are ubiquitous. Food and food products will always be contaminated with low levels of pathogens. At low levels, pathogenic microorganisms cause no problems. At illness thresholds, however, they can make people ill and cause death.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Background of Clostridium perfringes

Clostridium perfringens is an aerobic bacteria present in the environment and in the intestines of both humans and domestic and feral animals. Clostridium perfringens was first described by Welch and Nuttall in 1892 after they had isolated the organism from a cadaver. 

Since the bacteria are so prevalent, most foods are contaminated with, especially animal proteins such as meat. However, it takes millions of bacterial cells to cause illness. Bacterial cells double every twenty to thirty minutes so a single bacterium can reach over a trillion cells in twenty four hours if the conditions are favorable. 

The small amounts of C. perfringens in foods do not cause any problems unless if it is prepared too long before serving. Outbreaks occur most commonly in institutional setting like hospitals, school, cafeteria, prisons and nursing homes where food is prepared several hours before serving. 

Clostridium perfringens is group into five types based on the production and secretion of four major toxin. Clostridium perfringens produces a number of other virulence enhancing toxins and hydrolytic enzymes. The most significant of these is probably enterotoxin. 

In food poisoning outbreaks, demonstration of hundred of thousands more organisms per gram is a suspect food supports a diagnosis of perfringens poisoning when substantiated by clinical and epidemiological evidence. 

Clostridium perfringens type A causes one of the most common food borne illness in the United States. The characteristic diarrhea and abdominal cramps associated with C. perfringens food poisoning are caused by a protein enterotoxin, Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin, CPE (2-4). 
Background of Clostridium perfringes

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