How to Avoid Food Poisoning
Schardt, David, Schmidt, Stephen, Nutrition Action Healthletter
"I want to tell you about what it's like to survive a severe attack of Salmonella, because there are too many people who have died and can't tell you what it is like.
"I got Salmonella from something I ate. The most likely culprits are a chicken sandwich and an overcooked egg salad sandwich.
"I first got diarrhea which lasted for days and days. Then quite suddenly, the diarrhea stopped. Soon I felt as if there was a red brick inside me.
"It was the most awful thing I had ever experienced. I knew that I had to go to the hospital. And I knew that I was going to need surgery to live...." 200,000 and 1,000,000 actual infections" caused by Salmonella enteritidis, CDC Director Satcher testified in May.
The culprit? "Shell eggs accounted for 80 percent of those outbreaks for which a vehicle was determined," said Satcher. Even scarier: Most tainted eggs are contaminated within the hens' ovaries before their shells form. So washing the eggs before cracking them open is no guarantee that they'll be clean.
While no deaths from outbreaks caused by Salmonella- contaminated eggs were reported to federal authorities in 1994, disease-control experts remain concerned.
"The big news is that the number of infections has tripled in Southern California," says CDC epidemiologist David Swerdlow, who adds that California now accounts for about 25 percent of all Salmonella infections in the country.
What's more, most of the Southern California infections are due to a new, worrisome form of Salmonella enteritidis called "phage type 4." (Bacteria can be distinguished from one another by the phages, or viruses, that infect them.)
"Phage type 4 has been a more virulent form of Salmonella in Europe, but we don't know yet whether that will also be true in the United States," says Richard Gast, a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southern Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia.
"So far, we haven't been able to determine in the lab whether it's a nastier bacteria," Gast adds. "If we …
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Publication information: Article title: How to Avoid Food Poisoning. Contributors: Schardt, David - Author, Schmidt, Stephen - Author. Magazine title: Nutrition Action Healthletter. Volume: 23. Issue: 6 Publication date: July-August 1996. Page number: 1+. © 1999 Center for Science in the Public Interest. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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