Food infection: symptoms, prevention, treatment

Food infection is a group of diseases, which brings together acute intestinal infections caused by various bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms. The disease starts after taking substandard or spoiled food contaminated with toxins.

Food infection is a disease that is caused by pathogenic or opportunistic microbes (microorganisms residing on the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, when adverse conditions begin to parasitize). They are able to produce enterotoxins outside of the human body.

Bacteria that cause food infection

The war revealed more than 30 species of pathological microorganisms that can lead to the development of diseases. They are widely distributed in nature and have a high resistance to external factors – sunlight, temperature change (heat, frost), strong wind, humidity. Bacteria grow quickly and is able for several hours to form a large colony.

Numerous micro-organisms causing food infection, are characterized by their antigenic structure, but it does not affect the mechanism of disease development. Clinical symptoms and duration of disease are identical. So they are all grouped – the food of the infection.

Food poisoning occurs by the fecal-oral route. Contamination (pollution) of food factor of transmission. The human immune system resistant to bacteria, so the infection to occur, it needs a large infectious dose, at least 108 cells of the pathogen. This is only possible with the use of poor quality food, which is the perfect breeding ground for pathogenic microorganisms.

Bacteria causing foodborne illness:

  • bacilli;
  • clostridia;
  • enterobacteria;
  • enterococci;
  • the Escherichia;
  • Proteus;
  • Salmonella;
  • Shigella;
  • staphylococci;
  • streptococci.

The most dangerous products, which before use is not subjected to heat treatment. Most of the people poisoned dairy products, meat, fish, pastry cream, less likely to cause infection become salads, vinaigrettes, sauces.

Food infections are characterized by seasonality, most cases occur in the warm season, as well as the mass (infection groups).

The clinical picture of foodborne infections

Once in the gastrointestinal tract, the pathogen begins to rapidly produce toxins. This leads to inflammation of the mucous membrane of the small intestine. Bacteria that cause food infection does not spread throughout the body, therefore, the inflammatory process is limited only by the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract. The development of symptoms of the disease is in three areas.

Gastroenteritis symptom

Lesion of the mucous membrane of the small intestine is manifested by disorders of the digestive system. Person sick, then there is repeated vomiting. At the same time develop diarrhea.

Feature of chair:

  • liquid;
  • watery;
  • contains undigested particles of food;
  • has an unpleasant, pungent smell;
  • the frequency of acts of defecation may reach 15 times a day or more.

With food infections in the stool should not have a lot of mucus, pus or blood. If such impurities are, should be suspected cholera, dysentery or other infectious diseases.

Patients experience abdominal discomfort, nagging and aching pain. During the period symptoms pain is worse, take colicky.

Symptoms of intoxication

The disease begins suddenly, the person feels severe weakness, fatigue. There is a headache, body aches.

The patient starts shivering. Gradually the temperature rises. In severe cases, its performance reaches 39-40°. The acute period lasts on average from 12 hours to 1.5 days.

Human skin becomes pale, and then acquires a blue tint. Blood pressure decreases slightly, heart rate increases.

Symptoms of dehydration

Amid profuse diarrhoea and vomiting rapidly developing dehydration. Signs of mild fluid loss:

  • dry mouth, thirst;
  • dry skin;
  • the decrease in body mass.

With moderate and severe dehydration in patients increased toxicity of the body, which affects the nervous and urinary system. Develop convulsions of an epileptic type. The kidneys fail in their function, leading to anuria – lack of urine. This condition often causes a collapse or shock.

Therapeutic interventions

The treatment of food infections aims to eliminate dehydration. If the disease is slight, and the health of the patient satisfactory, the prescribers for oral rehydration (by mouth) – powders for the preparation of salt solutions. They Supplement the deficiency of electrolytes that the body loses with vomit and feces.


  • gastrolith;
  • rehydron;
  • orasan;
  • glyukosolan.

If the patient is in serious condition, prescribed intravenous infusion of salt solutions – NaCl 0,9%, glucose 5%, disol,Trisol.

According to who recommendations, the treatment of food infections antibiotics are not required. Antibacterial drugs are prescribed only in two cases – in cases of suspected cholera and the presence of blood in the stool. They also displayed severe patients who have developed complications: sepsis, pneumonia.

For normalization of stool patients are prescribed a diet №4 – light diet during acute inflammatory processes of the gastrointestinal mucosa. If you feel better, go on a diet number 2 – table, which is prescribed for chronic diseases of the digestive system, as well as in the recovery period after acute poisoning.

In parallel, patients prescribed symptomatic treatment:

  • chelators to combat diarrhea – smecta;
  • antacids to eliminate nausea and heartburn – Almagell, Rennie;
  • antispasmodics for relief of abdominal pain – no-Spa;
  • non-steroidal drugs to relieve inflammation – diclofenac, ibuprofen;
  • bifidobacteria and lactobacilli;
  • vitamins.


Prevention of food infections should be carried out in two areas – the workplace and at home.

Enterprises (dairies, poultry farms, meat processing plants) must be ongoing supervision by the veterinary services, sanitary-epidemiological stations.

In order to prevent the spread of food infections patients after recovery shall within 3 months of passing the bacteriological examination of feces. If employees of the food industry are carriers, they are not allowed.

At home prevention of food infection – proper storage of products, compliance with technical standards for food preparation, a thorough washing and treatment before the use of the products not subjected to heat treatment.

Food infection is widespread among the population. With timely treatment in a medical institution she poses no threat to life. Depending on the condition of the patient treatment can take place in inpatient and outpatient settings.