Food as a risk factor - expert warns of increased food infections

Food as a risk factor - expert warns of increased food infections

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More and more infections from contaminated food?

Contaminated food can lead to various infectious diseases and are an extremely serious problem, which is also illustrated by the relatively high number of so-called "food-related outbreaks" in the "Infection Epidemiological Yearbook of Notifiable Diseases for 2017" by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). However, the risk of infection can be significantly reduced, for example, by correct handling of the food.

The specialist for children's infectious diseases Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse from the renowned Mayo Clinic (USA) explains the risks and possible preventive measures for food infections in a current press release. In view of the increasing number of food-borne illnesses, all consumers are also called upon to take certain safety precautions when handling food.

CDC are reporting increasing numbers of food infections

"There are more than 250 different types of infections or diseases that you can get from food and water," explains Dr. Rajapakse. The most common causes of food-borne illnesses are contamination with viruses, bacteria and parasites, but also certain toxins or chemicals are sometimes the trigger. Overall, the number of food-borne diseases has risen significantly in the United States recently, according to the expert, referring to a report by the US health authority CDC (Centers for desease control an prevention). Accordingly, Campylobacter and Salmonella in particular were responsible for a particularly large number of food infections. Compared to the previous year, the largest increase in the number of cases with the so-called Cyclospora infections was shown.

Avoid cross-contamination in food

However, there are ways to protect yourself from the infections, emphasizes Dr. For example, it is imperative to avoid cross-contamination of food products. "This means storing and preparing raw meat and poultry separately from fruit and vegetables in order to prevent the bacteria from being transferred from one product to the other," says the expert. This is particularly important because fruits and vegetables are often eaten uncooked. "Heating food to high temperatures helps kill some bacteria and reduces the risk of food-borne illness," explains Dr. Rajapakse continues.

Chicken often triggers

In Germany, the reportable food infections are recorded in the RKI yearbook and there are significant fluctuations between the individual years. A fundamental trend of increasing numbers of cases is not recognizable at first glance. However, the RKI also explicitly points out the high number of Campylobacter infections and emphasizes that the most important risk factor here is the consumption of chicken meat. In general, food infections in Germany are particularly often triggered by meat products, followed by milk and milk products as well as egg and egg products. The right precautions for storage and preparation can, however, significantly reduce the risk of infection.

Signs of a food infection

The expert describes nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea as possible symptoms of a food-borne illness. "If you think you have a food infection, the first thing to do is make sure you stay well hydrated," emphasizes Dr. It is therefore imperative to ensure adequate hydration. For people who are already weakened, the infections can otherwise easily become life-threatening. The good news, however, is that most people recover without medical help. Still, food-borne diseases remain a serious health threat, according to the US expert. (Fp)

Author and source information

Video: Dr. Paul Mason - How to Survive Coronavirus - Part 1: The Role of Diet (September 2022).


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