What are the different types of food poisoning and their subsequent treatments?

Some of the most common types of bacteria are salmonella, E. Coli, shigella, campylobacter, and botulism.


Salmonellosis, a public health disease problem, causes worldwide morbidity and mortality of humans and animals. Salmonellae are frequently found in the intestinal tract of a variety of animals. Most animals colonized by salmonellae show no signs of illness (http://moose.uvm.edu/%7erasmith/index.html). Eating inadequately cooked or improperly refrigerated poultry, milk, eggs, meats, or other food products contaminated with the salmonella bacteria can cause infection and subsequent illness. (http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap1.html). Determining that salmonella is the cause of the illness depends on laboratory tests that identify salmonella in the feces of an infected person. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines, then it can be treated with ampicillin, gentamicin, trimethoprim/ sulfamethoxazole, or ciprofloxacin. As a result of the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals, salmonella has built a resistance to some antibiotics. (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/cause/jan98.htm). Most people infected with salmonella usually recover pretty quickly, except some have irregular bowel movements for several months. Some develop Reiter's syndrome, which develops arthritic symptoms, irritated eyes, and painful urination. It can last for multiple years and lead to chronic arthritis. One thousand people every year die of acute salmonellosis (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/foodborn/salmon.htm). A recent concern has been with the salmonella Typhimurium strain DT 104. " More than one-third of the patients have required hospitalization, and 3% have died"(http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol3no4/foster.htm).

As a result of salmonella being one of the most common types of food poisoning, there has been many research studiess on the incidence rate and prevention methods. A study done in the UK, by the Department of Agricultural and Food Economic, used the Delphi method to estimate the incidence of food-borne Salmonella. A panel of experts went through five rounds of questioning on the estimates of incidences of Salmonella in the UK. This Delphi method allows less variation to be given by the different experts. The study concluded that the annual incidence of Salomonella was 537,000 in the UK. Poultry accounted for 50% of the cases and egg products 26% of the cases. Also, food irradiation and basic standards by the HACCP were listed as the most effective prevention methods (Int J Food Microbiol 195-204). Another study by Hubner Kohler studied the effects of cobalt-60 gamma radiation on Salmonella. By using specific doses of cobalt-60 and controlling the temperature, the conclusion drawn from the research was that: "irradiation is highly effective against Samonella, irradiation doses of 4.0 KGy is able to kill 1 million Salmonella bacteria per chicken." (Kohler 665) Also, doses of 4.0 KGy does not effect the quality of the chicken (Kohler 665-68).


Shigella is found in the gastrointestinal tract of men only. It occurs most often in institutions like child care centers and nursing homes. It is spread by not washing hands after coming in contact with fecal matter. Symptoms consist of bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting within a few days of contact. Shigellosis usually resolves in five to seven days. For those with mild food poisoning with this bacterium, antibiotics are not needed. Antibiotics that can be used for more severe cases are ampicillen, trimethoprim/ sulfamethoxazole, nalidixic acid, or ciprofloxcin. Consequences of the infection are similar to those of salmonella. Such as, it might take a few months for entirely normal bowel movements and there is a chance of developing Reiter's syndrome. "Antidiarrheal agents such as loperamide or diphenoxylate with atropine are likely to make the illness worse and should be avoided". (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/bacter/shigellosis.htm)


Poor handling of raw poultry or eating raw poultry meat causes Campylobacter. It is the foremost cause of diarrheal illness in the United States. Erythromycin and fluoroquinolones, antimicrobial agents, are used for severe infections. "It is estimated that one in every 1,000 Campylobacter infections leads to Guillian-Barré syndrome, and although Campylobacter does not generally cause death, approximately 500 persons with Campylobacter infections die each year." Guillan Barre' syndrome is a disease of the peripheral nervous system which the immune system destroys parts of the nerve cells that causes paralysis. (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/cause/jan98.htm)


Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The poisoning has often been from home-canned foods with low acid content. In the United States thirty-eight foodborn cases of botulism are reported each year. The most common symptoms of botulism are doubled and blurred vision, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Symptoms normally begin eighteen to thirty-six hours after ingestion. Severe botulism requires a breathing machine for respiratory failure and the paralysis is treated through intensive medical care. If botulism is caught early enough, an antitoxin can stop the circulation of the toxin in the bloodstream. Also, physicians may try to remove contaminated food from the gut by inducing vomiting or the usage of enemas. Patients who survive botulism (eight- percent mortality rate) may require medical care for several months and have fatigue for years. (http://cdc.gov/nicod/diseases/foodborn/botu.htm)

E. Coli

Escherichia coli is a major cause of foodborne illnesses. E. Coli resides in intestines and these are harmless. In G.W. Tannock's book, Normal Microflora, "Approximately .1 % of the total bacteria within an adult's intestines is represented by E. Coli(http://falcon.cc.ukans.edu/~jbrown/ecoli.html). However, some strains of E.Coli are harmful to our bodies and can cause a stomachache or diarrhea. O-157 is one of those kinds. The feature of E. Coli O-157 is that it produces a more powerful toxin than any other strain. Infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally kidney failure. Eating undercooked or contaminated ground beef are the most common causes of infection. Most people can recover in five to ten days without any specific treatment. Antibiotics have not shown to be effective for this infection and antidiarrheal agents should be avoided. In extreme cases hemolytic uremic syndrome develops, which is a life threatening disease that requires blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. The death rate for this syndrome is between three and five percent.


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