Food poisoning is a condition where an individual becomes ill from consuming water or food that is contaminated with bacteria, toxins, parasites, chemicals, or viruses. The most commonly involved pathogens are Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Norovirus, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus aureus. While some severe cases can lead to permanent disability and death, most cases are mild and resolve without treatment. Depending on the severity of the illness, some may require aggressive hydration, hospitalization, and antibiotic treatment. If two or more individuals exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms, and contaminated food or water is determined as the source of the illness, then it is considered an outbreak.
In the United States, foodborne diseases were once estimated to cause 6 to 8 million illnesses that resulted in approximately 9,000 deaths annually. However, due to changes in the identification of new foodborne diseases, changes in food supply, and the availability of new surveillance data, the morbidity and mortality numbers have changed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have estimated that the thirty-one known pathogens of foodborne disease cause 9.4 million illnesses, with 55,961 hospital admissions and 1,351 deaths. If you include unspecified agents (substances known to be in food but whose ability to cause illness is unproven), the CDC’s total statistics are as follows: About 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a foodborne illness every year (a total of 48 million individuals). Of this number, 128,000 are admitted to the hospital and 3,000 result in fatality.
Food Poisoning Symptom #1: Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain refers to pain or discomfort felt anywhere in the abdomen. The abdominal pain felt in food poisoning can be described as painful muscle cramps that may signify underlying electrolyte loss. The abdominal pain is most severe during the inflammatory process.