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The 3 Most Common Types of Food Poisoning

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

If you have ever had food poisoning, you have our sincerest sympathies.

Food poisoning is the result of consuming food contaminated with a bacteria or virus. Symptoms of food poisoning include fever, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration. Food poisoning can be caused by unclean hands when cooking, undercooked or raw foods, and improper storage which transmit the bacteria and viruses.

Here are three most common types of food poisoning:

1. E. Coli

E. coli is more formally known as Escherichia coli. It is a bacterium that lives in the digestive tract of mammals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless. However, E. coli O157:H7 is the leading cause of food poisoning.

E. coli can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and in severe cases, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS can cause kidney failure, stroke, and coma.

Most healthy adults recover easily from E. coli, but infection in young children and the elderly can cause death.

2. Salmonella

Salmonella is another bacterium that lives in the digestive tract of animals and humans. Salmonella infects fruits and vegetables when animal feces contaminates the water supply used to irrigate crops. Humans can also get salmonella from handling their pets.

Symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella usually start 12 to 72 hours after consumption. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and severe diarrhea. More serious infections can also cause arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

Most people recover from salmonella without medical treatment. People with other health problems, young children, and the elderly may require antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

3. Listeria

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria commonly found in soil and water contaminated with animal feces. It can contaminate raw meats, fruits, and vegetables. The bacteria can still survive on foods that have been cooked or frozen.

According to the CDC, listeria infects nearly 1,600 people and kill over 200 people each year. Listeria can cause serious or fatal infections among young children and elderly people. Expectant mothers could suffer miscarriages or stillbirths. Healthy adults may only suffer short term symptoms such as fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, and diarrhea.

While food poisoning cases can often be hard to prove, you do have the right to sue the restaurant or manufacturer for food poisoning. Most food poisoning cases are based on the theory of negligence or strict liability. If you believe that you have a claim, an experienced consumer protection attorney may be able to help.

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