New Bad Bug Book Now Online
Posted April 24, 2012 | 0 comments
By Howard Seltzer, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Due to mass media coverage involving outbreaks, many people know that Salmonella and E. coli cause food poisoning. But do you know anything about Yersinia?
If you would like to know about it, along with other bacteria, viruses, parasites and natural toxins that can contaminate food and cause illness, the second edition of the Bad Bug Book (BBB) can be found at www.fda.gov/badbugbook.
The new book provides current information for both the general public and health professionals about the major known agents that cause food borne illness in the U.S. The book includes information about living and non-living organisms such as: bacteria, protozoa, worms, fungi, viruses, prions, and natural toxins.
For the General Public
The new book features a consumer snapshot for each agent with an explanation of symptoms of the illness it causes, as well as the types of foods it is associated with. Also included is information on safe food-handling practices that help prevent each agent from causing food poisoning. Another new feature is a special consumer glossary of terms used in talking about the causes and prevention of foodborne illness.
Each agent’s characteristics, habitats and food sources are included, along with infective doses, and general disease symptoms and complications. How much illness each agent causes in the U.S. and the populations most susceptible to each agent are also covered. There is an overview of the analytical methods used to detect, isolate, and/or identify the various agents.
So what about Yersinia?
According to the book, foods that have been linked to illness from Yersinia are pork (including chitterlings, sometimes called “chitlins”), unpasteurized milk, and oysters. Anyone can get yersiniosis, the illness Yersinia causes, but young children get it most often. The symptoms usually start within 1 day to 2 weeks and include high fever and stomach pain with diarrhea and sometimes vomiting.
Besides young children, people who are elderly, have poor health, a weak immune system, or take medications that weaken the immune system are at highest risk. Some people get arthritis-like symptoms, such as joint pain and rashes (which often go away in a month or several months), or other, more serious complications that may affect the heart.
Most mild cases of yersiniosis go away by themselves, but health professionals can prescribe antibiotics to treat it if necessary.
To help protect against yersiniosis:
- Wash hands before and after handling food for 20 seconds with soap and water
- Wash food-contact surfaces and utensils after each use
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables
- Cook food to a safe temperature—for pork that is 165°F with a 3-minute rest time, and for oysters the shells should open during cooking
- Keep cooked food from contacting raw food
- Keep food refrigerated at 40ºF or lower
- Use only pasteurized milk and products made from pasteurized milk, not raw milk