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Vegetarians in Paradise
Words from Other Birds



From time to time Vegetarians in Paradise presents informative articles by guest contributors on subjects of interest to vegetarians and vegans. In this issue we are reprinting a public information statement from the County of Los Angeles Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. We feel the statement is so important it should receive a wide audience. We appreciate their permission to share the message with you.



What Are the Bacteria That Cause Foodborne Illness?



Campylobacter jejuni

How do you get infected?
Drinking contaminated water, raw milk, or eating raw or under-cooked meat, poultry, or shellfish.

What are the symptoms?
Fever, headache, and muscle pain followed by diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, and nausea that appear 2 to 5 days after eating and may last 7 to 10 days.


Clostridium botulinum

How do you get infected?
The bacteria produce a toxic substance that causes illness. Dented or expanded canned foods, garlic in oil, vacuum packed and tightly wrapped food.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms usually appear in 18 to 36 hours but can sometimes appear as few as 4 hours or as many as 8 days after eating. This bacteria affects the nervous system. There may be double vision, droopy eyelids, trouble speaking and swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Fatal in 3 to 10 days if not treated.


Clostridium perfringens

How do you get infected?
It is called "the cafeteria germ" because many outbreaks result from food left for long periods in steam tables or at room temperature. Bacteria are destroyed by cooking, but some toxin-producing spores may survive.

What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea and gas pains may appear 8 to 24 hours after eating and usually last about 1 day, but less severe symptoms may persist for 1 to 2 weeks.


Escherichia Coli 0157: H7

How do you get infected?
Consuming contaminated water, raw milk, raw or rare ground beef, unpasteurized apple juice or cider, or uncooked contaminated fruits and vegetables.

What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and malaise can begin 2 to 5 days after food is eaten and can last about 8 days. Some people, especially young children and older adults, can develop a disease that causes kidney failure.


Listeria monocytogenes

How do you get infected?
Eating contaminated soft cheese, raw milk, improperly processed ice cream, raw leafy vegetables, meat, and poultry.

What are the symptoms?
Fever, chills, headache, and backache. Sometimes abdominal pain and diarrhea can be seen after 12 hours to 3 weeks and may later develop into a more serious illness in at-risk patients (meningitis or spontaneous abortion in pregnant women).


Salmonella (over 2300 types)

How do you get infected?
Eating raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, seafood, meat, milk and dairy products. Improper food handling.

What are the symptoms?
Stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, chills, fever, and headache will usually appear 8 to 72 hours after eating and may last 1 to 2 days.


Shigella (over 30 types)

How do you get infected?
Most outbreaks result from food, especially salads, prepared and handled by workers using poor personal hygiene and not washing their hands after using the restroom.

What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea containing blood and mucus, fever, abdominal cramps, chills, and vomiting 12 to 50 hours from ingestion of bacteria and can last a few days to 2 weeks.


Staphylococcus aureas

How do you get infected?
Improper food handling. The bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature to produce a toxic substance that causes illness.

What are the symptoms?
Severe nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur 1 to 6 hours after eating. Recovery occurs within 2-3 days but takes longer when there is severe dehydration.


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