Food Poisoning

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Overview

Food poisoning refers to an infection of the GIT acquired through the ingestion of food that has been contaminated with some microorganis, or it’s toxin. The contamination can occur during the process of preparing the food. The illness is usually mild, but sometimes requires hospital admission.

Causes

There are multiple organisms that can cause food poisoning, and they can be listed as follows:

  • Campylobacter
  • Clostridium
  • Escherichia coli
  • Giardia
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Vibrio cholera
  • Vibrio vulnificus
  • Rota virus

These infectious agents are all spread through eating contaminated food. Some of the ways in which food can become contaminated are:

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms usually start a few hours after the ingestion of the contaminated food. The following signs and symptoms are most commonly associated with food poisoning:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (watery or bloody)
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever

Diagnosis

For diagnosing food poisoning, a detailed history is the basic step. Questions about the stool, and food intake in the past few hours can guide the diagnosis. Apart from the history, a stool sample can be taken and cultured to identify the organism responsible.

Treatment

Treatment begins soon as the diagnosis is made, without waiting for stool culture. The following steps are implied in the treatment of food poisoning:

  • Replace fluids
  • Antibiotics
  • Bed rest
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