- By Deborah Balzer
Infectious Diseases A-Z: Illnesses from infected food on the rise
If it seems there are more reports of food poisoning, you are correct.
Foodborne diseases are a serious health threat. And the incidence of foodborne diseases is on the rise, according to a new report published by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). "Foodborne illnesses are basically illnesses you get from ingesting contaminated food or water," says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic.
The rise, according to the CDC, may also be linked to better diagnostic tools to identify illnesses.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse are in the downloads at the end of the post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."
Campylobacter, a type of bacteria often found in undercooked poultry, and salmonella were named as the most common infections. Cyclospora infections, partly related to large outbreaks associated with produce, increased the most in 2018, compared to 2017, says the CDC.
"There are more than 250 different types of infections or illnesses you can get from food and water," says Dr. Rajapakse. "Most common causes of foodborne illnesses include viruses, bacteria and parasites, but certain toxins or chemicals can also cause people to become unwell."
But there are ways to protect yourself from getting sick.
"Make sure to avoid cross-contamination of your food products," says Dr. Rajapakse. "That means keeping raw meats and poultry separate from fruits and vegetables that you might be preparing at the same time to avoid transmission of the bacteria from one product to the other. This is especially important because most fruits and vegetables we eat without cooking them. Heating food to high temperatures helps to kill off some of the bacteria and decrease your risk of developing a foodborne illness."
Common symptoms of foodborne illness may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
Most healthy people will recover without needing medical attention. "If you think you may have food poisoning, the most important thing is to make sure that you're staying well-hydrated," says Dr. Rajapakse.D