Food is one of the core necessities of life and has often been hailed, along with music, as a “universal language.” No culture or civilization is without a means of preparing meals, instilling the same ingredients with a flavor unique to that region or group.
Food has become so important for human survival and culture. But nothing can cause more worry and paranoia when food becomes tainted with infection. Sadly, there are several bacterial infections that you can get by eating contaminated food, though not all of them are frequent in appearance.
One of the more common bacterial infections you can get from food would be e. coli. This particular bacteria is typically found in cattle, though it can also appear in smaller animals. Human can become infected if the food or water is tainted with cow feces, typically only needing microscopic amounts to have an effect. The common signs of e. coli infection are diarrhea mixed with blood and painful cramps in the abdomen. A complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome can arise from the infection, which can manifest weeks after the first symptoms of the bacteria. This can cause problems such as anemia, damage to the kidneys which can lead to kidney failure, and profuse bleeding. In some cases, the bleeding can also be difficult to control.
Salmonella is also indicated as being among the most common bacterial infections related to food consumption. This infection can occur due to a wide variety of animal-based foods, though the bacteria itself is frequently found in the intestines of mammals, reptiles, and birds. The bacteria is known to cause a specific illness known as salmonellosis. Symptoms of this condition include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The condition is typically not life-threatening for the average person. However, for individuals whose health has already been compromised, or have weak immune systems, then are problems. Salmonella can easily spread to the bloodstream of those individuals, having potentially life-threatening side effects.
Another infection that can come from food is campylobacter. Bacterial infections from this pathogen generally happen due to someone eating undercooked chicken. The primary source of the infection in humans comes from the juices that drip from raw chickens, such that poultry that has been undercooked has not been purged of the problem. Similar to salmonella, this bacteria causes fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Statistically speaking, it is considered to be the primary bacterial cause of diarrheal conditions around the world.
There are, of course, other bacterial infections to be found in food. The above may be the most common examples, but they are not the only ones. Some contagions that are better transmitted by other means can also be transmitted by food. There are rare documented cases of strep throat being transmitted through food. Hepatitis A can also be transmitted through food, though this happens only in certain circumstances. Two particular parasites, the Giardia lamblia and the Crpytosporidia, can both find their way into the human body through contaminated food.
Despite all the potential illnesses and bacterial infections that a person can end up having because of food, they can be avoided. Typically, all that is needed is proper preparation of the food. Making sure that the food is cooked properly and cleaned properly can stave off most bacteria. It is also advisable to check where the food came from, as meat from an area with a widespread infection usually carries pathogens.