Have you met Sam & Ella?

World Health DayHave you met Sam & Ella? The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes not, because food safety is the theme for this year’s World Health Day, April 7. 2015 marks the 65th anniversary of this day which was founded by WHO to draw attention to global and public health issues.

Food safety is the science of handling, preparation and storage of food to prevent food-borne illness such as common culprits, Salmonella, Listeria, E-Coli, botulism and cholera. Unsafe food — food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances — is responsible for more than 200 diseases, and is linked to the deaths of some 2 million people annually, mostly children.

What’s your food safety IQ? Here are five of the most common causes of food-borne illness.




Prognosis & Treatment



  • meats
  • eggs
  • fruits/vegetables
  • reptiles
  • diarrhea
  • fever,
  • vomiting
  • abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. In most cases, the illness lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment
  • lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment
  • in some cases, the diarrhea may cause dehydration and hospitalization is needed




  • raw meat
  • dairy products
  • fruits/vegetables
  • primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and newborns
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms
  • invasive infection (bacteria has spread from intestines to blood stream or other body sites)
  • disease may occur as much as two months after eating contaminated food
  • should be treated for two weeks, meningitis for three weeks, and brain abscess for at least six weeks
  • ampicillin generally is considered antibiotic of choice
  • gentamicin is added frequently
  • overall mortality rate is 20–30%; of all pregnancy-related cases, 22% resulted in fetal loss or neonatal death, but mothers usually survive



Escherichia coli

(E. coli)

  • all foods – if proper food safety measures are not followed


  • stomach cramps
  • blood in stool
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • most people infected by e. coli recover within seven to ten days but can be contagious for one to two weeks after they have recovered
  • in severe cases, people can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that affects the kidneys and other organs




Clostridium Botulinum (Botulism)

  • commonly found in soil and dust
  • improperly prepared low-acid, home-canned foods
  • improperly smoked fish or raw marine mammal meat
  • baked potatoes stored in aluminum foil
  • nausea/vomiting
  • diarrhea (early)
  • constipation (late)
  • fatigue
  • weakness and dizziness
  • blurred or double vision
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • descending paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk and breathing muscles (starts in the arms and moves down)
  • severe botulism can require intensive medical and nursing care -  it can also lead to paralysis and respiratory failure, which can require a person to be on a ventilator (breathing machine) to breathe
  • if not diagnosed and treated, botulism can lead to death from respiratory failure within three to ten days



Questions? Need help?