Foodborne Diseases - Bacterial
Bacterial Foodborne Diseases (Bacterial / Parasitic)
Salmonella (including Typhoid fever)
Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that generally affects the intestinal tract and occasionally the bloodstream. It is one of the more common causes of gastroenteritis with more than 1500 cases occurring in Georgia each year. Most cases occur in the summer and early fall months and are seen as single cases, clusters, or outbreaks.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection of the intestinal tract and the bloodstream. It is an uncommon disease with usually 10 or fewer cases occurring in Georgia each year. Most cases are acquired during foreign travel. The germ that causes typhoid is a unique human strain of salmonella called Salmonella Typhi. Outbreaks are rare. A similar illness, paratyphoid fever, is caused by Salmonella Paratyphi, and requires the same type of public health interventions as typhoid fever.
Shigellosis is a bacterial infection affecting the intestinal tract. Most cases are seen in the summer and early fall and occur as single cases or in association with outbreaks. Shigella case numbers can vary from year to year, in a cyclical pattern over 5-6 years.
Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and, rarely, the bloodstream. It is a common cause of bacterial diarrhea in Georgia. Most cases are seen in the summer months and occur as single cases or as part of recognized outbreaks.
Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (includes E. coli O157)
E. coli O157:H7 is one of hundreds of strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli. The combination of letters and numbers in the name of the bacterium refers to the specific markers found on its surface, which distinguish it from other types of E. coli. Although most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, E. coli O157:H7 and other strains produce a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness (Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome). Most infections have come from eating undercooked ground beef, but outbreaks have also been traced to unpasteurized milk, fruit juice, raw vegetables, and contaminated drinking water.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, is a rare but serious disease that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system. HUS is caused by a powerful toxin produced by certain strains of bacteria, usually E. coli O157. It is a complex, potentially deadly condition that is the leading cause of acute kidney failure in infants and young children. Characteristically, HUS is marked by the destruction of red blood cells, damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, and kidney failure (in severe cases). Transfusions of blood or blood clotting factors (platelets) and dialysis are often needed in severe cases. Fortunately, most people with HUS recover completely and kidney function returns to normal. However, a prolonged hospital stay is often required.
Vibrio (including cholera)
Some specific types of Vibrio bacteria that cause infection in humans include Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio cholerae. Specific types of V. cholerae cause a specific disease called cholera that has great potential for epidemic spread and is discussed separately in the fact sheet called “Cholera.” However, other types of V. cholerae, as well as V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus, can cause disease typified by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramping or severe wound infections.
Cholera is an infection of the intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Between 1817 and 1911, six worldwide cholera outbreaks resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The bacterium responsible for the seventh pandemic, now in progress, is known as V. cholerae O1, biotype El Tor. Another serogroup associated with cholera outbreaks is O139. Other serogroups of V. cholerae have been reported in the United States and Georgia; these are referred to "non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae". These serotypes may also cause a cholera-like illness.
Yersiniosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia. In the United States, most human illness is caused by one species, Yersinia enterocolitica.
Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Most people do not get listeriosis, even when exposed to the bacteria, but persons with certain health conditions can become ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis in the United States each year. Of these, approximately 500 die.