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Chapter: Modern Medical Toxicology: Food Poisons: Food Poisoning

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Causes and Diagnosis of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning can occur in many ways, and may be isolated instances, or may constitute an epidemic (mass food poisoning).

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning can occur in many ways, and may be isolated instances, or may constitute an epidemic (mass food poisoning). The latter bristles with medico-social implications and neces-sitates prompt reporting to public health authorities who must take effective steps to contain the epidemic. Food borne illnesses are among the commonest health problems encoun-tered world-wide, and are particularly rampant in third world countries such as India, mainly due to a relative lack of sanita-tion and public hygiene.

CAUSES

·      Microbes: bacteria, viruses, protozoa

·      Parasites

·      Fungi

·      Plants

·      Fish

·      Chemical additives.


DIAGNOSIS

·     History.

·              Clinical picture.

·              Stool analysis: Table 33.1 provides general guidelines for collection of stool samples.

·              Suspect food/agent analysis.

·              Measurement of serum electrolytes.




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