Food Poisoning


MANILA, Philippines - Quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum. (What is food to one may be fierce poison to others). - Lucretius (c. 99 B.C.-c. 55 B.C.), Roman poet and Epicurean De Rerum Natura. iv. 637.One can never improve on Lucretius. But for our purpose, the appropriate rendering is "what is poisoned food to one is poisoned food to others." For clearly, we are dealing with every restaurateur's nightmare: Food poisoning by the batch. Or in the case of the schoolteacher, mixing poison with spaghetti and feeding it to her pupils is poisoning. Period. Otherwise, food poisoning victims retch and rage alone in the night, in front of the toilet bowl. What is it? Eating food contaminated with virulent bacteria, parasites, or viruses results in poisoning. Now the question is how does food get contaminated anyway? There are four ways: During food processing (if intestinal bacteria of animals mix with raw meat or poultry), in cultivation (fresh fruits and vegetables washed or irrigated with water containing sewage matter or animal manure), through the environment (dust, dirt, and water with harmful germs get into the food), and by food handling (busy kitchen gets busboy with an infected cut on the finger to knead the pizza dough). And does it help not to be rude to the waiter? He may not think twice about using his phlegm (or the busboy's) to garnish your chateaubriand!Signs and symptoms. The general symptoms are:Nausea.Vomiting.Diarrhea.Fever (sometimes).Other findings depend on the offending organism. For example, symptoms of dizziness, double vision, and muscle weakness associated with food poisoning may be due to Clostridium botulinum. This is botulism and a really bad case can include respiratory muscle paralysis (requiring ventilator support). In E. coli poisoning, watery stools may also be bloody. If Salmonella strikes, the symptoms could last for up to a week and the patient may need to be hospitalized. Toxoplasma and Listeria food poisoning are threats to the pregnant woman and the unborn child. …

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Food Poisoning
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