Food poisoning is varcharacterized by an illnesses caused by food eaten within the previous 48 hours. It can affect just one person or several people who have eaten the same food. Bacteria or virus is the usual cause of symptoms. Chemical poisoning can cause symptoms within 30 minutes. Onset is 1-12 hours if bacteria toxins are involved, and 12-48 hours with salmonella or virus infections. Other disorders can mimic food poisoning such as, emotional stress, food intolerance, drugs, hepatitis, appendicitis, or other disorders.
Causes of Food Poisoning
Causes of bacterial infection include organisms such as Salmonella, staphylococci, clostridia, Escherichia coli, and Bacillus cereus. Some of these may cause bacterial infections, others may produce a toxin. A life-threatening form of food poisoning, is botulism, although very rare. It may be seen with home canning. Food poisoning from viral infections include norwalk virus (common contaminant of shellfish), adenovirus, and rotavirus. Causes of chemical infection include high doses of insecticide or food served in lead-glazed pottery. Eating plants or animals that contain a naturally occurring poison such as mushrooms or toadstools or shellfish (may contain a neurotoxin that is resistant to cooking), can produce severe and occasionally fatal results.
Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea and vomiting. There is often cramping abdominal pain and diarrhea. Fever may develop. In extreme conditions, collapse and shock may develop. Stools may contain blood. Frequently one or more people who have eaten the same food at the same time may develop similar symptoms.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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