Diagnosing Foodborne Illness
Quicker Diagnosis … Faster Recovery
Approximately 48 million cases of diarrhea are caused by foodborne disease, accounting for an estimated 125,000 hospitalizations and 3000 deaths at a total estimated cost of over $150 billion.
I am involved with food safety. Our idea is that we need to have more awareness about when a patient comes to the [doctor's] office and they are displaying symptoms for food borne illness. So the diagnostics [need to be better], rather than assuming that it is the flu, or something else. Because sometimes it’s very hard to tell. Before it becomes five hundred people that are having serious illness from it [the food borne illness], or dying, or whatnot. Because those that get food borne illness can get extremely sick overnight, and I’ve been there, and you feel like you are dying. But, a lot of the time the doctors brush it off. So, I think there needs to be more of a concerted effort on that.
ONE MILLION SOLUTIONS IN HEALTH:
One Million Solutions in Health is a global movement working to stimulate ideas, innovation and solutions … by connecting people and sharing inspiring ideas … to transform the face of healthcare around the world.
The movement started in 2011 when a group of passionate people gathered to discuss an important problem — we all have health systems that are broken … no country has enough resources, money or trained people to handle our future needs in healthcare delivery … and too many people are not living their lives to the fullest because they have poor health.
Inspired by a mutual conviction that all people around the globe deserve better health, we have crafted a program that leverages collective knowledge, and the willingness to collaborate, for the purpose of finding solutions that improve healthcare delivery, improve the health status of individuals and communities, and provide unique ways to leverage the resources of the globe to implement health solutions.
© Copyright 2011 One Million Solutions in Health
Diagnosing Foodborne Illness
As of March 28, 2012 more then 350 million episodes of diarrhea are estimated to occur annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 48 million of these are thought to be due to foodborne disease, accounting for an estimated 125,000 hospitalizations and 3000 deaths at a total estimated cost of over $150 billion [1,2]. A registry-based study from Denmark further emphasized the potential seriousness of foodborne illness. The study found that of 52,121 patients with foodborne bacterial gastroenteritis, 7524 (14.4 percent) were hospitalized within 90 days of a microbiologic diagnosis . Some of the complications were serious with 647 (1.2 percent) having complications such as intestinal perforation or invasive illness. The risk of complications and sequelae depended greatly on the bacterial species; Listeriosis, Shiga toxin producing E. coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella are particularly associated with severe morbidity.( David WK Acheson, MD, FRCP, Managing Director, Food Safety Leavitt Partners LLC)
In this video, created by members of “One Million Solutions in Health”, the issue of ways to better diagnose foodborne illness came up. With similarities between the flu and foodborne illnesses, it is not easy for physicians and nurses to properly diagnose the problem without doing the tests listed below. The only problem with performing all of the tests is the wait time. People shouldn’t have to wait a couple of weeks to see what the problem is. At that point it may be to late.
In order to diagnose foodborne illnesses, one must have a list of what you have eaten recently, laboratory tests, examination of the feces and, if possible, a sample of the suspected food, so it can be tested for bacterial toxins, viruses and parasites. Once these tests are completed, a treatment can be recommended, if needed.
Since most cases of foodborne illnesses are minor, an increased intake of fluids is recommended in order to keep you hydrated, and to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. If you are dealing with a more sever case, and are suffering from gastrointestinal or neurologic symptoms, then you should seek medical attention.
The common symptoms for food poisoning are:
- Diarrhea (which can be bloody)
- Abdominal cramping
The common flu symptoms are:
- A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
With such high numbers of sicknesses and different bacterial causes as well as the high cost of hospitalizations and deaths, emphasizes why diagnosing foodborne illnesses is very important. The quicker a patient is diagnosed the quicker they can be treated and be treated correctly.
It is encouraged that everybody helps to make the healthcare system better and more efficient. If you have any ideas of your own, or comments about this problem, please share your ideas with us by posting them on the blog or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Times
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
Abrams CS. Thrombocytopenia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 175.
David WK Acheson, MD, FRCP, Managing Director, Food Safety Leavitt Partners LLC