Most people experience what they believe to be food poisoning at some point in their lives. It often results in a short-term illness that resolves relatively quickly. However, some cases can be serious and require care from a medical professional. The severity of the illness depends on the pathogen involved, along with the patient’s age and medical history.
Scientists have been working for decades to figure out what types of bacteria and viruses found in food and water are harmful to people. Using techniques such as electron microscopes, microbiology streaking dish and centrifuges, the isolation and study of foodborne pathogens has made large strides.
One of the most common types of foodborne pathogens in the United States is norovirus. It can be spread through the consumption of contaminated food or water or by person-to-person contact. The symptoms typically occur within two days of transmission and normally last about three days, although people with weakened immune systems may experience a longer duration.
Exposure to food items containing salmonella can result in illness developing anywhere from one day to a week. The duration typically lasts for a week or less. Severe symptoms experienced by at-risk patients can be treated by antibiotics.
3. Escherichia Coli
Eating contaminated food or beverages, or swimming in contaminated water can expose people to E. coli. While not every strain causes diseases, others can cause serious illnesses. Most people exhibit symptoms within 5 to 10 days and recover within a week.
While it is not possible to completely eliminate all risks, reducing the chances of illness due to foodborne pathogens can be done. Properly handling food and completely cooking it before serving can prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Washing raw foods before consumption and avoiding water from unsafe sources can help people stay safe and healthy.