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Food Borne Illness

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Food Borne Illness
Peggy Pena
SCI 163
July 6, 2012
Marie Leger

Food Borne Illness According to the Centers for Disease Control, Clostridium perfringens is a spore-forming gram-positive bacterium that is found in many environmental sources as well as in the intestines of humans and animals. It is commonly found on raw meat and poultry. The bacteria’s survival is based on conditions with very little or no oxygen. The toxin it generates causes the food borne illness.

Clostridium perfringens bacteria grows in food after it has been cooked. If foods such as poultry or beef are not cooked at the recommended temperature and not kept at a temperature that is either warmer than 140°F or cooler than 41°F, clostridium perfringens can easily set in. Clostridium perfringens often occurs when foods are prepared in large quantities, such as a catering event.

An example of a real outbreak in the United States was documented by the New York State Department of Health. The New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Community Environmental Health and Food Protection have confirmed six food borne outbreaks in 2006. Clostridium perfringens was one of them. Out of the 1466 ailments associated with food borne illness, 117 of them were Clostridium perfringens. Outbreaks in hospitals, schools or prisons are more common according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Symptoms of Clostridium perfringens are watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually develop within six to twenty-four hours. Yet it can last less than twenty-four hours. Clostridium perfringens is not contagious and persons infected will not have a fever or experience any vomiting. Centers for Disease Control suggest that antibiotics are not recommended. Oral rehydration and electrolyte replacement can be used to prevent or treat dehydration. In more severe cases of the food borne illness, intravenous fluids is another option. Another way to diagnose Clostridium perfringens is by detecting the toxin in the feces of the patient. Doctors can perform bacteriological tests to confirm if a person has the Clostridium perfringens illness. Prevention can be simple. Foods should be cooked at the proper temperature. This can prevent the growth of Clostridium perfringens spores in food. All meat dishes should always be served hot, right after cooking. Any leftovers should be refrigerated immediately. To consume refrigerated leftovers, they must be reheated to at least 165°F before serving. Never eat foods that have been sitting out in room temperature for a long period of time.

References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). CDC Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/clostridium-perfringens.html
New York State Department of Health Bureau of Community Environmental Health and Food Protection. (2006). Foodborne Disease Outbreaks In New York State. Retrieved from http://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/diseases/foodborne/outbreaks/2006/2006_outbreak_report_color.pdf
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2012). Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodborneillness/foodborneillnessfoodbornepathogensnaturaltoxins/badbugbook/ucm070483.htm

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