Lesson 1f - What are the most common foodborne pathogens?

This alphabetical listing of some pathogens describes their characteristics.
Bacillus cereus
Illness: Illness caused by bacterial intoxication
Incubation period: 1/2 hour
Symptoms: Watery diarrhea abdominal cramps and pain
Foods Implicated: Cooked rice, corn and potatoes
Steps for prevention: Avoid temperature abuse, cook and hold food at proper temperatures; cool properly
Illness: Toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria
Incubation period: 12 to 36 hours
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,fatigue, headache, dry mouth, double vision, muscle paralysis, respiratory failure
Foods Implicated: Low-acid, improperly canned foods, temperature abused vegetables, meats, sausage, fish
Steps for prevention: Properly preserve foods following recommended procedures; cook foods thoroughly
Clostridium perfringens
Illness:  Toxin mediated bacterial infection
Incubation period:  8 to 24 hours
Symptoms: Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, chills
Foods Implicated: Meat, poultry, and other foods held for serving at warm, but not hot, temperatures
Steps for prevention:  Cool foods rapidly after cooking; hold hot foods above 140 degrees F
Campylobacter jejuni  
Illness: Bacterial infection, even with low numbers of cells
Incubation period:  One to seven days
Symptoms:  Nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headache - varying in severity
Foods Implicated: Poultry and contaminated water
Steps for prevention:
Cook foods properly; prevent cross-contamination
Cryptosporidium parvum  
Illness: Parasitic infection
Incubation period:   Two to ten days
Symptoms:  Watery diarrhea accompanied by mild stomach cramping, nausea, loss of appetite. Symptoms may last 10 to 15 days
Foods Implicated: Contaminated water and produce
Steps for prevention: Wash hands after using the toilet; avoid water that may be contaminated
Escherichia coli 0157:H7 
Illness: Strain of enteropathic E. coli bacteria that produces toxins in human intestine
Incubation period: Two to four days
Symptoms: Hemorrhagic colitis; hemolytic uremic syndrome
Foods Implicated: Raw and undercooked ground beef, raw milk, alfalfa sprouts, unpasteurized fruit juices, dry-cured salami, lettuce, game meat, and cheese curds.
Steps for prevention: Thoroughly cook meat; avoid cross-contamination; only use pasteurized fruit juices. Exclude infected food handlers.
Hepatitis A   
Illness:  Viral infection
Incubation period:  
Symptoms: Mild fever, general weakness, nausea, abdominal pain; can develop into jaundice
Foods Implicated: Ready-to-eat foods, shellfish, fresh green onions, contaminated water
Steps for prevention: Wash hands properly at appropriate time. Avoid bare hand contact with food; purchase shellfish from reputable supplier; exclude employees diagnosed with Hepatitis A from work
Illness: Bacterial infection from strain of Listeria monocytogenes
Incubation period: Two days to three weeks
Symptoms:   Meningitis, sepsticemia, miscarriage
Foods Implicated: Vegetables, unpasterized milk and dairy foods, raw meat, and ready-to-eat foods including deli meats
Steps for prevention: Purchase pasteurized milk and other dairy foods, cook foods properly, avoid cross- contamination; use sanitary practices
Norwalk virus  
Illness: Infection with Norwalk virus
Incubation period: 12 to 48 hours
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps
Foods Implicated:  Raw oysters/shellfish, contaminated water and ice, ready-to-eat foods.
Steps for prevention:  Adequate treatment and disposal of sewage; restriction of infected food handlers from working with food until they no longer shed virus
Illness: Infection with Salmonella bacteria
Incubation period:   12 to 24 hours
Symptoms: Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, chills, prostration
Foods Implicated: Meat, poultry, egg or dairy products
Steps for prevention: Cook thoroughly, avoid cross-contamination, exclude infected food handlers.
Illness:  Toxin produced by bacteria strain of Staphylococcus aureus.
Incubation period: One to six hours
Symptoms: Severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping
Foods Implicated: Custard or cream-filled baked goods, ham, poultry, eggs, potato salad, cream sauces, sandwich fillings
Steps for prevention: Refrigerate foods, use safe food handling practices; restrict food handlers with open cuts and sores.
Illness: Bacterial infection caused by strains of parahaemolyticus and vulniticus
Symptoms: Diarrhea, abdominal cramps; nausea and vomiting; fever and chills
Foods Implicated: Raw or partially cooked oysters
Steps for prevention: Purchase oysters from approved, reputable supplier; cook to 145 degrees F internal temperature
Illness: Infection with Yersinia bacteria
Incubation period:  1 to 3 days
Symptoms: Enterocolitis, may mimic acute appendicitis
Foods Implicated:  Raw milk, chocolate milk, water, pork, other raw meats
Steps for prevention: Purchase pasteurized milk; cook foods throroughly; no cross-contamination
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