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Types of Food Poisoning

Salmonella

Symptoms include a general feeling of illness, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, high fever and sometimes vomiting. First symptoms can take up to 4 days from the eating of contaminated food, but is more usually 12 - 48 hours. This illness normally lasts 3 weeks but can last longer.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

One of the most common causes of food poisoning in the UK, of which there are several types. This infection is caused by large numbers of bacteria living on food. Salmonella is commonly found in cows and raw milk, poultry, pigs, pets and wild animals. The spread is mainly food borne via raw or undercooked food (e.g. poultry) or milk, and it can occasionally come directly from infected animals including household pets. Person to person spread can also occur.
The bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature therefore refrigeration is necessary for high risk foods such as cooked meat and dairy products. The separation of raw, and cooked / ready to eat foods is essential.
Salmonella is easily killed by heat therefore the risk lies in the consumption of raw foods, inadequately cooked foods or cooked/ ready to eat foods which have been contaminated either as a result of poor handling, storage or the use of dirty utensils.

Exclusions

Any food handler who is ill should inform their supervisor and not return to school, nursery or work until they have been free from symptoms for 48 hours and after ending any treatment. You could still be a carrier i.e. excreting the bacteria for up to 12 weeks once your symptoms have ended. Being a carrier should not prevent you from returning to work however it is essential that good personal hygiene is practised at all times.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • If you or your child are suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting you or your child should stay home from work, school or nursery.
  • Hands must be thoroughly washed after visiting or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating and after every visit to the toilet.
  • Toilets including seats, handles, and sink taps must be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately, wear gloves preferably disposable, and use disposable cloths or paper towels, which should be disposed of in sealed bags. Any affected surfaces must be thoroughly disinfected.
  • Any soiled clothes or bedding should be washed separately from the main wash at the

Campylobacter

Symptoms: Severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain following a general feeling of illness are the symptoms most associated with this illness. Vomiting is rare. This illness may be confused with appendicitis.
First symptoms can take 1-10 days (most commonly 2-5 days) from initial contact with the contaminated source. The illness can last from 2 days to a week, and is very rarely fatal even in vulnerable groups.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

This illness is most closely associated with food, water and milk, which have been contaminated. Campylobacter is widely distributed in nature, and are also found in the intestinal tract of some animals, in particular poultry. The thorough cooking of food is an important control measure which destroys any contamination present. Care must be taken after cooking, as further contamination may be introduced by direct or indirect contact (cross-contamination) with contaminated raw meat or by an infected food handler who is not carrying out good personal hygiene.
Pasteurisation and water treatment will destroy any campylobacter that is present in the milk or water (animals may shed the bacteria into watercourses). However incidents of contamination may occur afterwards such as bird pecked milk bottles.
Direct contact with contaminated animals i.e. pets, farm animals and wild birds is also a source of infection.
Person to person spread is uncommon.

Exclusions

Once you have recovered and have not experienced any symptoms, such as diarrhoea, for 48 hours, then you can go back to work or school.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • Anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from work, school, and nursery or similar.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating or touching food, after each visit to the toilet and after playing with or stroking pets or other animals.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toilets including seats, handles and sink taps.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately. Use gloves (preferably disposable), disposable cloths or paper towels, and dispose of in bags which can be sealed. Thoroughly disinfect any affected surfaces.
  • Wash any soiled clothes or bedding separately from the main wash, at the highest recommended temperatures.
  • Use separate towels and replace them frequently.

Cryptosporidium

Symptoms: Within 1 2 weeks of ingesting the parasite, the following symptoms may be experienced diarrhoea, bloating, cramping and abdominal pain. There may be vomiting but this is uncommon.
The illness can last up to 3 weeks.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

This illness is caused by a microscopic parasite which enters the body in contaminated food or water, by person to person spread or contact with farm animals and pets.
If water is the suspected source of your illness then bringing water to the boil will kill the parasite, the cooled water can then be used for drinking and food preparation

Exclusions

Once you have recovered and have not experienced any symptoms, such as diarrhoea, for 48 hours, then you can go back to work or school.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • Anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from work, school, and nursery or similar.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating or touching food, after each visit to the toilet and after playing with or stroking pets or other animals.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toilets including seats, handles and sink taps.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately. Use gloves (preferably disposable), disposable cloths or paper towels, and dispose of in bags which can be sealed. Thoroughly disinfect any affected surfaces.
  • Wash any soiled clothes or bedding separately from the main wash, at the highest recommended temperatures.
  • Use separate towels and replace them frequently.

Ecoli O157

Symptoms: From eating contaminated food to the first symptoms can take from 12 hours to 2 weeks, but it is usually around 48 hours. Less than 100 organisms need to be ingested for this illness to occur. Symptoms can vary from mild diarrhoea to severe bloody diarrhoea and kidney problems, in extreme cases fatalities can occur. Generally it is vomiting and diarrhoea which are characteristic of this illness. This illness normally lasts 2 weeks but can last longer.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are commonly found in the human gut and are normally quite harmless. There are however different strains of E. coli and amongst these strains are those which produce toxins which in turn can cause illness in humans. One of these toxin producing strains is E. coli 0157 VTEC.

Foods which have been linked with this illness are beef, beef product, salads, wild mushrooms, raw milk and yoghurt. It is important to note that any food or drink can become contaminated if it comes into contact with infected food or with contaminated equipment or hands.
Farm animals can pass the illness to humans and person to person spread can also occur.

Exclusions

If the person who is ill is a food handler or works with or is in regular contact with the very young or elderly then they should not return to school, nursery or work until they have provided 2 consecutive clear stool samples produced 48 hours apart.
Food handlers may need to be formally excluded from work. You should contact the Environmental Health unit for information on formal exclusion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • Anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from work, school, and nursery or similar.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating or touching food, after each visit to the toilet and after playing with or stroking pets or other animals.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toilets including seats, handles and sink taps.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately. Use gloves (preferably disposable), disposable cloths or paper towels, and dispose of in bags which can be sealed. Thoroughly disinfect any affected surfaces.
  • Wash any soiled clothes or bedding separately from the main wash, at the highest recommended temperatures.
  • Use separate towels and replace them frequently.

Listeria Monocytogenes

Symptoms: This bacterium can cause a range of symptoms from a mild chill or flu like illness to a severe illness and meningitis. The very young, elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised people such as transplant patients and HIV positive individuals are at greatest risk from this illness. In pregnant women Listeriosis may cause premature birth or miscarriage. Infection in healthy adults and children is rare.
The illness has a long incubation period as it can be 3 70 days between exposure and the first signs and symptoms. The length of illness is variable.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

The listeria bacterium is widespread in the environment. The sources are numerous and include man (around 5% of the population of normal healthy people have found to have Listeria monocytogenes in their systems).
If you are one of the at risk groups previously mentioned you can reduce the chance of contracting this illness by:
  • Avoiding certain soft and blue veined cheeses and meat pates.
  • Thorough cooking of food.
  • Thorough reheating of foods such as ready meals.
  • Pregnant women should avoid helping with lambing.

Exclusion

Once you have recovered and have not experienced any symptoms, such as diarrhoea, for 48 hours, then you can go back to work or school.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • Anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from work, school, and nursery or similar.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating or touching food, after each visit to the toilet and after playing with or stroking pets or other animals.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toilets including seats, handles and sink taps.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately. Use gloves (preferably disposable), disposable cloths or paper towels, and dispose of in bags which can be sealed. Thoroughly disinfect any affected surfaces.
  • Wash any soiled clothes or bedding separately from the main wash, at the highest recommended temperatures.
  • Use separate towels and replace them frequently.

Shigella - Bacillary Dysentery

Symptoms: Shigella is an acute disease of the intestine characterised by diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps and often vomiting. These symptoms usually occur 1 3 days after ingestion of the bacteria. Stools may contain blood, mucous and pus, and the illness can last for up to 2 weeks (usually 4 7 days). However you may be infectious for up to 4 weeks even if symptom free.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

This particular illness can be caused by 4 different types of Shigella bacterium. In this country it is usually Shigella sonnei and less frequently Shigella flexneii. From abroad it may be Shigella dysenteriae or Shigella boydii. The severity of the illness depends on the type of Shigella causing the infection.
Man is the main reservoir of the bacteria which can be spread by the faecal oral route from an infected person, e.g. poor toilet facilities or practices, or by the consumption of contaminated foods e.g. water, milk, imported iceberg lettuce. The illness is more common and severe in children. However sporadic infections occur after travel to areas where hygiene is poor and overcrowding is common. Secondary infections in households due to person to person spread can be as high as 40%. Fatality is normally less than 1%.

Exclusions

If you are a food handler whose work involves touching unwrapped food which won't have further cooking the you must stay off work until symptom free i.e. normal stools for 48 hours, however once back at work or school a high standard of personal hygiene must be practised at all times.
For all other types of Shigella all infected persons, excreters, and contacts of those who are ill and are food handlers, work with the elderly or very young or are under 5 must not return to work or school until they are free from diarrhoea.
If you have Shigella dysenteriae then you will need to provide 2 consecutive negative stool samples before returning to work, school or similar.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • Anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from work, school, and nursery or similar.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating or touching food, after each visit to the toilet and after playing with or stroking pets or other animals.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toilets including seats, handles and sink taps.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately. Use gloves (preferably disposable), disposable cloths or paper towels, and dispose of in bags which can be sealed. Thoroughly disinfect any affected surfaces.
  • Wash any soiled clothes or bedding separately from the main wash, at the highest recommended temperatures.
  • Use separate towels and replace them frequently.

Small Round Structured Virus

Symptoms: The symptoms are often mild but a combination of nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting (sometimes severe & projectile) and can be debilitating, particularly in the elderly and immunocompromised.
The first symptoms take around 15 to 50 hours to appear and lasts up to 2 days.

Where does it come from and how does it spread?

This is an illness that comes primarily from man's intestinal tract. The common causes of this illness are food or water contaminated by infected food handlers or by sewage (e.g. shellfish from sewage contaminated beds). It is also more commonly passed from person to person either by direct contact or spread through the air for example coughing.

Exclusions

If you are a food handler or work with vulnerable people and show symptoms you should not work due to the high risk of person to person spread. If anyone is sick, particularly in a food room, then thorough cleaning and disinfection must be carried out of the entire area.
48 hours after symptoms have ceased a food handler can return to work.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL GP OR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

Good hygiene practice

Personal hygiene is very important in controlling this type of illness. We advise the following:
  • Anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from work, school, and nursery or similar.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using or cleaning the toilet.
  • Make sure that children wash their hands thoroughly before eating or touching food, after each visit to the toilet and after playing with or stroking pets or other animals.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toilets including seats, handles and sink taps.
  • Any accidents or spillages must be cleared up immediately. Use gloves (preferably disposable), disposable cloths or paper towels, and dispose of in bags which can be sealed. Thoroughly disinfect any affected surfaces.
  • Wash any soiled clothes or bedding separately from the main wash, at the highest recommended temperatures.
  • Use separate towels and replace them frequently.
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