Some bacteria cause more serious illness than others, but only a few are responsible for the majority of cases. Below is information regarding nine prominent bacteria. Campylobacter jejuni
Found: intestinal tracts of animals and birds, raw milk, untreated water, and sewage sludge. Transmission: contaminated water, raw milk, and raw or under-cooked meat, poultry, or shellfish. Symptoms: fever, headache, and muscle pain followed by diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain and nausea that appear 2 to 5 days after eating; may last 7 to 10 days. Clostridium botulinum
Found: widely distributed in nature: in soil and water, on plants, and in intestinal tracts of animals and fish. Grows only in little or no oxygen. Transmission: bacteria produce a toxin that causes illness. Improperly canned foods, garlic in oil, and vacuum-packaged and tightly wrapped food. Symptoms: toxin affects the nervous system. Symptoms usually appear within 18 to 36 hours, but can sometimes appear within as few as 4 hours or as many as 8 days after eating; double vision, droopy eyelids, trouble speaking and swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Fatal in 3 to 10 days if not treated. Clostridium perfringens
Found: soil, dust, sewage, and intestinal tracts of animals and humans. Grows only in little or no oxygen. Transmission: called “the cafeteria germ” because many outbreaks result from food left for long periods in steam tables or at room temperature. Bacteria destroyed by cooking, but some toxin-producing spores may survive. Symptoms: diarrhea and gas pains may appear 8 to 24 hours after eating; usually last about 1 day, but less severe symptoms may persist for 1 to 2 weeks. Escherichia coli O157:H7
Found: intestinal tracts of some mammals, raw milk, unchlorinated water; one of several strains of E. coli that can cause human illness. Transmission: contaminated water, raw milk, raw or rare ground beef, unpasteurized apple juice or cider, uncooked fruits and vegetables; person-to-person....
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