E. coli, Salmonella, and Other Food Borne Illnesses

E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterial pathogen that has a reservoir in cattle and other similar animals. Human illness typically follows consumption of food or water that has been contaminated with microscopic amounts of cow feces. The Center for Disease Control has estimated that 85% of E. coli O157:H7 infections are food borne in origin. In fact, consumption of any food or beverage that becomes contaminated with animal manure can result in contracting the disease. Foods that have been sources of contamination include ground beef, venison, sausages, salami, unpasteurized milk and cheese, orange juice, apple juice, cider, lettuce, spinach and water. The illness it causes is often as severe as bloody diarrhea and painful abdominal cramps. A severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can occur several weeks after the initial symptoms which includes anemia, profuse bleeding and kidney failure.

Salmonella is also a bacterium that is widespread in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals. It can spread to humans by a variety of different foods of animal origin. The illness causes salmonellosis, which typically includes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor underlying health or weakened immune systems it can invade the blood stream and cause life threatening infections.

Campylobacter is bacterial pathogen that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. It is the most commonly bacterial cause of diarrhea illnesses in the world. These bacteria live in the intestines of healthy birds and most raw poultry meat contains campylobacter. Eating uncooked chicken or other food that has been contaminated with juices dripping from raw chicken is the most regular source of this infection.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by the nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil. The disease is associated with inadequately processed home canned foods, but occasionally commercially produced foods have been involved in outbreaks of botulism. Sausages, meat products, canned vegetables and seafood products have been the most frequent vehicles for human botulism.

If you believe that you or a family member has been sickened by inadequately maintained or contaminated food please contact Nassios & McLaughlin to discuss your case.