Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Food poisoning by Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP) is one of the most common food-borne diseases and results from the ingestion of staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) preformed in food by enterotoxigenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that 240,000 cases of Staphylococcal Food Poisoning (SFP) occur each year in the US, leading to hospitalization in 1000 cases and to six deaths. In the EU, the number of SFP outbreaks is rising, with 386 SFP outbreaks reported in 2013.

Food can become contaminated with the bacteria by food-handlers during food preparation. Food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in food poisoning outbreaks. If the food is then not kept either hot or refrigerated, the bacteria will multiply. As they grow, they produce a poison or toxin that causes illness in people when the food is eaten.

Staphylococci exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk, and food or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans, and animals. Illness occurs abruptly after eating the contaminated food, typically within 30 minutes to 7 hours. Symptoms are severe nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, there may also be headache, muscle cramps, weakness and even collapse. Symptoms are generally last 1 to 2 days.

The Staphylococcus aureus  enterotoxins (SEs) are potent gastrointestinal exotoxins synthesized by S. aureus throughout the logarithmic phase of growth or during the transition from the exponential to the stationary phase.

They are active in high nanogram to low microgram quantities, and are resistant to conditions (heat treatment, low pH) that easily destroy the bacteria that produce them, and to proteolytic enzymes, hence retaining their activity in the digestive tract after ingestion.
Food poisoning by Staphylococcus aureus
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