Science, Tech, Math › Science Bacteria and Food Poisoning Share Flipboard Email Print Campylobacter is a bacterium that causes food poisoning resulting in : diarrhea, enteritis, high temperature and abdominal pain. Optical microscope. BSIP/UIG/ Universal Images Group/ Getty Images Science Biology Organisms Basics Cell Biology Genetics Anatomy Physiology Botany Ecology Chemistry Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Regina Bailey Biology Expert B.A., Biology, Emory University A.S., Nursing, Chattahoochee Technical College Regina Bailey is a board-certified registered nurse, science writer and educator. Her work has been featured in "Kaplan AP Biology" and "The Internet for Cellular and Molecular Biologists." our editorial process Regina Bailey Updated November 29, 2018 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 80 million people a year in the U.S. alone contract food poisoning or other foodborne diseases. Foodborne illness is caused by eating or drinking food that contains disease causing agents. The most common causes of foodborne diseases are bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Foods containing toxic chemicals can cause foodborne diseases as well. Typically, our immune system fights off germs to prevent illness. However, some bacteria and viruses have developed ways of avoiding immune system defenses and causing sickness. These germs release proteins that help them avoid detection by white blood cells. In addition, antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become increasingly prevalent and a worldwide public health issue. Strains of resistant E. coli and MRSA have become increasingly proficient at causing infection and avoiding immune defenses. These germs can survive on everyday objects and cause disease. There are over two hundred types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause foodborne diseases. Reactions to these germs can range from mild gastric and digestive system discomfort to death. The easiest way to prevent foodborne illness is to properly handle and cook foods. This includes washing and drying your hands, washing utensils carefully, replacing kitchen sponges often, and cooking meat thoroughly. Below is a list of a few bacteria that cause foodborne diseases, along with the foods that are associated with them, as well as symptoms that are likely to develop from ingesting the contaminated foods. Bacteria That Cause Foodborne Illness Microbe - Aeromonas hydrophilaAffiliated Foods - Fish, Shellfish, Beef, Pork, Lamb, and PoultryDiseases - Gastroenteritis, SepticemiaSymptoms - Diarrhea, Blood and Mucus in Stool Microbe - Bacillus cereu Affiliated Foods - Meats, Milk, Rice, Potato, and Cheese ProductsDiseases - B. cereus Food PoisoningSymptoms - Diarrhea, Abdominal Cramps, Nausea Microbe - Campylobacter jejuni Affiliated Foods - Raw Chicken, Unpasteurized Milk, Non-chlorinated WaterDiseases - B. cereus CampylobacteriosisSymptoms - Diarrhea, Abdominal Cramps, Nausea and Fever, Headache and Muscle Pain Microbe - Clostridium botulinum Affiliated Foods - Canned Foods Including: Vegetables, Meats, and SoupsDiseases - Foodborne BotulismSymptoms - Weakness, Double Vision and Vertigo, Difficulty in Speaking, Swallowing, and Breathing, Constipation Microbe - Clostridium perfringens Affiliated Foods - Non-refrigerated Prepared Foods: Meats and Meat Products, GravyDiseases - Perfringens Food PoisoningSymptoms - Severe Abdominal Cramps, Diarrhea Microbe - Escherichia coli O157:H7Affiliated Foods - Undercooked Meats, Raw Ground BeefDiseases - Hemorrhagic colitisSymptoms - Severe Abdominal Pain, Watery and Bloody Diarrhea, Vomiting Microbe - Listeria monocytogenes Affiliated Foods - Dairy Products, Raw Vegetables, Raw Meats, Smoked FishDiseases - ListeriosisSymptoms - Flu-like Symptoms, Persistent Fever, Nausea and Vomiting, Diarrhea Microbe - Salmonella spp. Affiliated Foods - Poultry and Eggs, Milk and Dairy Products, Raw Meats, Fish, Shrimp, Peanut ButterDiseases - SalmonellosisSymptoms - Nausea, Vomiting, Abdominal Pain, Fever, Headache, Diarrhea Microbe - Shigella spp Affiliated Foods - Poultry, Milk and Dairy Products, Raw Vegetables, Fecally contaminated water, Salads: Potato, Chicken, Tuna, ShrimpDiseases - ShigellosisSymptoms - Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain, Fever, Vomiting, Blood or Mucus in Stool Microbe - Staphylococcus aureus Affiliated Foods - Poultry and Egg Products, Meat Products, Dairy ProductsDiseases - Staphyloenterotoxicosis, StaphyloenterotoxemiaSymptoms - Abdominal Cramping, Nausea and Vomiting, Prostration Microbe - Vibrio cholerae Affiliated Foods - Contaminated Water, ShellfishDiseases - CholeraSymptoms - Watery Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain, Dehydration, Vomiting, Shock For additional information on bacteria, food poisoning, and foodborne diseases, take a look at the Bad Bug Book. Again, the single most important thing you can do to prevent foodborne illness is to keep your environment clean when preparing food. This includes washing your hands with soap and water and sanitizing utensils and counter tops. In addition, it is vital that you cook meats thoroughly to ensure that germs are killed.