Lesson 1a - Who is at risk?

Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who are chronically ill have a greater risk of developing a foodborne illness because their immune systems may not be able to fight off the bacteria and viruses that cause the illness. Those at greater risk should avoid consuming potentially hazardous foods that are raw or not fully cooked.


Infants and children are more vulnerable because their stomachs produce less acid, making it easier for bacteria and viruses to multiply.


Pregnant women are at risk because a fetus does not have a fully developed immune system.


The elderly are more susceptible to foodborne illness because of inadequate nutrition, lack of protein in their diets, or poor blood circulation.


People who are chronically ill or who take medication that affects their immune system are also at greater risk of becoming sick from a foodborne illness. This could include people with cancer, diabetes, AIDS patients or people who take antibiotics.

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