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Foodborne Illness

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Published on March 01, 2017. Last modified on February 10, 2020

Report Your Illness

Think you got sick from something you ate? Let us know by answering a few questions about your symptoms, places you've visited, and what you ate.

(Health care professionals must follow the procedure listed in California's List of Reportable Conditions (pdf) to notify the California Department of Health of certain foodborne diseases.)

Please Seek Medical Advice

Contact your health care provider, especially if you are:
  • Pregnant, elderly, have a weak immune system, or if the ill person is an infant. Any of these conditions put people at higher risk of getting sick if exposed to germs in contaminated food, and at higher risk of developing serious medical problems.
  • Having severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, severe nausea and vomiting or a high fever.

What is a foodborne illness outbreak?

When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne disease outbreak - CDC

Public health officials investigate outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

What should you do if you think you have a foodborne illness?

Foodborne illnesses are infections or irritations of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by food or beverages that contain harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. ... Common symptoms of foodborne illnesses include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills.

Who gets foodborne illnesses?

Anyone can get a foodborne illness. However, some people are more likely to develop foodborne illnesses than others, including

  • infants and children
  • pregnant women and their fetuses
  • older adults
  • people with weak immune systems

These groups also have a greater risk of developing severe symptoms or complications of foodborne illnesses.

What are the symptoms of foodborne illnesses?

Symptoms of foodborne illnesses depend on the cause. Common symptoms of many foodborne illnesses include

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • chills

Symptoms can range from mild to serious and can last from a few hours to several days.

Employees & Food Safety

Employees play an important role in food safety.The testimonial videos below show what could happen when we don’t follow good food safety practices.

Mari Houghey-Survivor of Salmonella Nightmare

Mari Houghey is a San Francisco area health care worker who during a weekend trip to Las Vegas consumed a restaurant meal that resulted in a nine-month illness caused by Salmonella. This is a preventable illness when employees practice safe food handling practices, proper cooking and avoid cross-contamination.

 

A Family Tragedy that Could Have Been Prevented: The Story of Zella Ploghoft - Part 1

On June 22, 2010, after seven weeks of hospitalization, Mrs. Zella Ploghoft of Athens, Ohio, died from complications caused by foodborne illness. This is an account of her suffering, hospitalization, and death as told by her son and daughter, Philip Ploghoft and Shelly Cooper.

 

A Family Tragedy that Could Have Been Prevented: The Story of Zella Ploghoft - Part 2

On June 22, 2010, after seven weeks of hospitalization, Mrs. Zella Ploghoft of Athens, Ohio, died from complications caused by foodborne illness. This is an account of her suffering, hospitalization, and death as told by her husband Milton Ploghoft.
 

 

Years of Suffering that Could Have Been Prevented: The Story of Kate and Bernadette

This is an account of the suffering, hospitalization, and near death of Bernadette Jacobs and daughter Kate as a result of foodborne illness. Bernadette contracted listeriosis when she was 32 weeks pregnant with Kate.

 

 


(Information regarding foodborne illness is shared from the NIDDIK website. This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.)