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.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Staphylococcal food poisoning

Staphylococcal food poisoning is one of the most common food-borne diseases and caused by the ingestion of food containing preformed toxins (staphylococcal enterotoxins [SEs]) produced mainly by enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium found on the skin and in the nasal passages of up to 25% of healthy people and animals. Staphylococcus aureus is important because it has the ability to make seven different toxins that are frequently responsible for food poisoning.

Staphylococcal enterotoxins belong to the group of enterotoxins and act in the gastrointestinal tract. They possess super-antigen character and can therefore unspecific ally activate T-cells.

The first description of food-borne disease involving staphylococci was investigated in Michigan (USA) in 1884 by Vaughan and Sternberg. This food poisoning event was because of consumption of a cheese contaminated by staphylococci.

The presence of staphylococcal enterotoxin in food is usually due to cross contamination of ready to eat food with either raw food or, most likely, contamination from a food handler that is carrying Staphylococcus aureus.

In the UK or the United States, meat or meat-based products are the food vehicles mostly involved in staphylococcal food poisoning, although poultry, salads and cream-filled bakery items are other good examples of foods that have been involved.

As clinical symptoms are often self-limiting, only 10% of staphylococcal food poisoning patients are admitted to a hospital or consult physician.

Patients typically experience several of the following symptoms include: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, usually watery but sometimes with blood, cramps, other symptoms may include mild fever, weakness, dizziness and chills. Symptoms start 30 min to 6 hours after ingestion of staphylococcal enterotoxins and go away in 1 to 2 days.

Toxin-producing Staphylococcus aureus can be identified in stool or vomit, and toxin can be detected in food items. Diagnosis of staphylococcal food poisoning in an individual is generally based only on the signs and symptoms of the patient.
Staphylococcal food poisoning

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