Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7 are the three most common illness causing bacteria found in food.
Campylobacter lives in bird intestines and is found in most raw poultry. It causes abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever.
Salmonella comes from the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals and results in symptoms similar to those of Campylobacter.
E. coli O157:H7 is found in food that has come in contact with cattle feces. It causes bloody diarrhea and sometimes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which may result in death.
However, bacteria are not the only cause of foodborne illness. Some adverse reactions post-eating are caused by calicivirus, toxins, or chemicals.
Listeria is another common food born pathogen. Immunocompromised humans such as pregnant women or the elderly are highly susceptible to virulent Listeria. Listeria monocytogenes is the most consistently pathogenic species causing listeriosis. Flu-like symptoms are most commonly found with Listeria. This bacteria is found in unpasterized foods, such as, cheeses (cottage, brie etc.). Also important to note is that refrigeration temperatures don not stop growth of Listeria.
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