Dilworth bactitech at hortonsbay.com
Wed Feb 21 00:29:20 EST 2001

I already posted this on sci.med.nutrition in reply to your same
inquiry, and therefore I'll post it again.....

The biggest thing is COOK FOOD THOROUGHLY to kill the organism.

Because I work in a laboratory, and because chicken in particular is 70%
infected with Campylobacter, and a lesser amount with Salmonella, I
treat ALL RAW MEAT as a specimen.  In other words, at the store, I take
the plastic bag and do as taurusrc [poster in SMN newsgroup) suggests: 
I grab the container of meat through the plastic bag and flip it over
the meat.  I also make
sure that the meat isn't anywhere near any fresh vegetables or anywhere
it can drip on anything i.e. the bottom of the cart away from as much as
possible.  This is also important when you store raw meat in the
refrigerator.  Do not store raw meat on a shelf above fresh vegetables
so the blood/juice can drip on anything.  Always put your raw meat on a
bottom shelf, preferably on a plate, until you either cook it or freeze
it.  Don't leave raw meat in the refrigerator for more than a day after
you buy it.  Freeze it.  Bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures,
they just grow more slowly.  Blood is a perfect medium for bacteria to
grow in.  Our agar plates in the lab are enriched with 5% sheep blood in
order to grow human pathogens.  

Our newspaper lists restaurant inspections and what each restaurant is
cited for.  Two of the biggest things they catch them on is not keeping
cold foods cold enough and hot foods hot enough.  Make sure your
refrigerator is in the correct range.  Buy a refrigerator thermometer. 
Also, don't keep food out at room temperature longer than two hours
after it is cooked (preferably much shorter).  When food becomes
lukewarm, it approaches body and/or incubator temperature.  We grow all
our cultures at 35 degrees C (approx. 98 degrees F).  We obviously set
our incubators at this temperature because it is the ideal temperature
at which to grow human pathogens - human body temperature!  

I start warm water running in the sink before cutting chicken, etc.
because then I don't have to handle the faucets with my messy hands.  I
also keep a spray bottle of bleach cleaner handy to spray counter tops,
and the faucets if I slipped up, as you don't want to have other people
inadvertently touch the faucets and then put their fingers in their
mouths, which is how this bug is passed.

You may think I'm paranoid, but I am.  I caught another bacteria,
Shigella, from a specimen 18 years ago.  Shigella is also an enteric
pathogen that causes dysentery, not mere diarrhea.  I lost 15 pounds in
2 weeks, had a high temperature, and was very ill.  An acquaintance's
wife infected herself with Campylobacter at a family reunion.  They were
at a state park and she was getting raw chicken ready for the grill. 
She didn't or couldn't wash her hands properly, infected herself, and
ended up in the hospital with severe dehydration.

It is also very important NOT to take anti-diarrheal medication or
prescription drugs like Lomotil if you suspect food poisoning.  Your
body produces diarrhea for a reason - to get rid of the toxin produced
by the bacteria.  Anything that slows the transit time of the stool
causes more toxin to be absorbed into your body.  In a few cases in the
literature this can cause fatalities.  The best thing is to replace
fluids as well as you are able.  If sever dehydration sets in, you must
go to an ER and be put on IV fluids, as this is what is dangerous about
these organisms. This is especially important with children and the
elderly, as they dehydrate more quickly.

Salmonella can invade other parts of the body besides the intestine. 
Certain strains are dangerous in that they can cause sepsis (bacteria in
the blood or the old fashioned term "blood poisoning").  I remember a
patient many years ago that grew a pure culture of Salmonella Group B
(they are serogrouped when identified) in her sputum!  She eventually
went septic (went into her bloodstream) from it and died.  I don't think
we ever cultured it from her stool.  There are many strains of
Salmonella, and they serogroup them to subspecies level in order to
track them in outbreaks of food poisoning.  State public health
laboratories usually do this.

For further technical reading on Salmonella, visit this page:


This is a better one:


Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)

Peter Clayton wrote:
> I am studying salmonmella and the preventative actions that you can take
> to stop 1)spreading it  2)becoming ill from it.

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