It is easy for our food to be contaminated, how can this be prevented? The first stage of potential contamination is food handling. For example, when we have fresh meat, or newly grown crops, it is important to maintain correct hygiene through avoiding faecal contamination. Next step: processing our food. Processing involves the equipment we use, the packaging and the people handling this stage. Once the food is processed and packaged, and is out for sale, it must be stored correctly. The responsibility then shifts from the sellers to the consumers. It is essential for us to store our food in the correct place, looking at temperature and expiry dates. Remember, expiry dates are given for a reason. We must look at what we are eating and think about where it could be contaminated. Heating food to the right temperature to kill microbes, placing food on clean plates with clean cutlery, avoiding surface contamination, avoiding contamination from sewage or irrigation water. You may have been told not to wash your chicken when preparing it, this is because the water then passes over the chicken and becomes contaminated, this water then passes over your surfaces or into your sink.
Salmonellosis is an infection caused by Salmonella bacteria. Symptoms vary from abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea and can last up to a week after first exposure. There are two types of Salmonella: Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. The severity of the infection depends on one’s immune system. Some Salmonella can cause typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever. Did you know that salmonellosis is one of the most common causes of diarrhea? It has caused thousands of deaths globally, for example in 2015 there were a total of 268,300 deaths. It is the second most common foodborne disease in Europe, the first is campylobacteriosis.
Campylobacteriosis is caused by the Campylobacter bacterium. Symptoms vary from inflammatory diarrhea which may sometimes contain blood, dysentery syndrome, abdominal cramps, fever and severe pain.
What is Campylobacter bacteria like?
It is gram negative bacteria, rod shaped, non-spore forming, can be curved or spiral and is motile.
What is the most common Campylobacter bacterium?
Campylobacter jejuni. It can be found in cattle, swine and birds.
Effects of Campylobacter?
It can cause an autoimmune effect on the nerves of the legs known as acute idiopathic demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP).
How is it transmitted?
There are several routes of transmission, for example sexual contact between two people, consumption of contaminated food (usually from unpasteurized milk and poultry that is not fully cooked), and through drinking water. Bacteria can also be spread through coming into contact with contaminated poultry, livestock and pets.
How can we diagnose Campylobacteriosis?
It can be detected through a gram stain test with high specificity or through stool culture.
What does the World Health Organisation (WHO) have to say?
We must cook our food properly and consume only pasteurized milk (or boiled.) Any ice we may have must be from safe water and if water appears to be potentially unsafe, you must boil first before drinking. Hands should be washed thoroughly regularly using soap. Fruits and vegetables should be washed before consumption. Prevention is highly important.
Image Credits: http://cdn.24.co.za/files/Cms/General/d/1805/f7b1eb418572485f8ee60c5c1f9a4a24.gif