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The last thing you want in the beautiful summer is to become ill due to improper food safety practices.
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Back in 1999, a report suggested the situation could be far worse than believed in countries like the United States. In 2003, a global document concluded foodborne illness is far worse than we may have thought. In that same year, a report in Canada provided a look at only a few pathogens but revealed the situation, while not dire, could be getting worse.
There are only two routes to go forward to ensure public safety. The first is to examine how the bug grows in the lab and identify any possible differences from E. coli. There are a few but they could take time to detect and may not be valuable should an outbreak occur. The other is to use genetic methods to identify the bacterium based on its DNA.
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This past week, another microbial outbreak made the Canadian headlines. This time, the cause was a parasite with a name that sounds like a comic book supervillain, Cyclospora. It's officially known as a protozoan and in the last few months, caused 83 cases with a few requiring hospitalization. From a public health perspective, Cyclospora has for the most part spread under the radar of the media. Despite the apparent novelty of the infection right now, the parasite has been a common visitor to Canada and had made many visits in the last 20 years.
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Now that spring is solidly here, we can think about having picnics and cooking meat on the grill. But we should also consider how we’ll do all these things safely — while food poisoning is a risk at a...
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As we say goodbye to the warmth of the fall and hello to winter, our thoughts turn to the season known as the holidays. We will undoubtedly hear of and be invited to a number of work parties, family gatherings, and social soirees. But while these moments may lead to our hearts being comforted, for many this season, another sensation may occur: gastrointestinal upset.
Our efforts to stay clean have hampered us, leaving us with no opportunity for continual exposure to those lower levels of bacteria. As a result, when we do come into contact with them -- such as eating contaminated food -- we tend to have an increased chance of becoming ill.
Each year, nearly 50 million Americans fall ill from contaminated food, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Harmful bacteria are the most common cause of foodborne illness. Symptoms can range from mild irritation to severe reactions, including stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.
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Researchers took a selection of 14 foodborne pathogens and compared them based on the number of illness caused, the number of hospitalizations, the cost of illness and what's known as the cost to a person's quality of life. One by one, the pathogens demonstrated their abilities and slowly, several started to emerge from the rest of the pack, leaving a top five.