Food and Waterborne Diseases (Enteric)

Food Diseases

Beefburger --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisFoodborne disease, often called food poisoning or foodborne illness, is any illness that results from eating contaminated food.

Campylobacteriosis symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain and fever.  Symptoms can be mild or severe.  The illness is caused by a bacteria, Campylobacter that affects the intestinal tract and, in rare cases, the bloodstream. It is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, unpasteurized milk, and by direct or indirect contact with fecal material from and infected people, animal or pet, especially puppies and kittens. It is the most common cause of bacterial diarrhea in Wisconsin and a cause of outbreaks. Most people are ill in the summer months.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli) symptoms include diarrhea, which is often bloody, and severe stomach cramps.  There usually is no fever.  The illness is caused by a bacteria, Escherichia coli, that infects the intestinal tract and may produce a toxin that affects other parts of the body as well. It is spread by eating contaminated food or water and by contact with fecal material from infected persons or animals.  Foods linked to E.coli includ raw or undercooked beef and unpateurized milk.  Most people are ill in the summer months.

Salmonellosis symptoms include severe diarrhea, stomach pains, fever and sometimes vomiting for several days.  The illness is cause by a bacteria, that generally affects the intestinal tract and occasionally urine, the bloodstream or other body tissues. It is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by direct or indirect contact with fecal material from infected people or animals.  It is a common cause of diarrheal illness in Wisconsin.

Waterborne Diseases

a toddler drinking water from a garden hoseWaterborne diseases is any illness that results from drinking contaminated water, including from lakes and rivers.

Cryptosporidiosis symptoms include watery diarrhea (most common), stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and loss of appetite.  The illness is caused by the protozoan Cryptosporidium, a single-celled parasite. Rarely, the parasite can cause an inflammation of the gall bladder or infect the lining of the respiratory tract causing pneumonia. Some people may not get symptoms. It is spread by drinking contaminated water, by person-to-person, or by animal-to-person.  It is very contagious.

Giardiasis symptoms include mild to severe diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps, weight loss and bloating.  Fever is rarely present.  The illness is caused by a parasite called Giardia lamblia, that affects the intestines.  It is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water and by direct or indirect contact with fecal material from an infected person or animal. It is a very common diarrheal illness in Wisconsin with an average of 1200-1300 cases reported in Wisconsin each year and a cause of outbreaks.

Prevention

hand-washing-zoomHand washing, when done correctly, is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of diseases. Good hand washing technique is easy to learn and can significantly reduce the spread of contagious diseases among both children and adults.

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