Radiation enteritis

What is staphylococcal food poisoning?

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Staphylococcal food poisoning occurs from ingesting food that has been contaminated by toxins released by certain forms of staphylococci which results to episodes of diarrhea and vomiting.

The bacteria grow in food where they release toxins. With this in mind, staphylococcal food poisoning does not occur from the ingestion of the bacteria but from ingesting the toxins that they produce in contaminated food. The commonly contaminated foods include milk, custard, fish, cream-based pastry and processed meats. Remember that despite being contaminated, the foods still have normal color and taste.

What are the indications?

Staphylococcal food poisoning
The symptoms typically start abruptly with significant episodes of nausea and vomiting that starts around 2-8 hours after ingestion of the contaminated food.

The symptoms typically start abruptly with significant episodes of nausea and vomiting that starts around 2-8 hours after ingestion of the contaminated food. Other symptoms might include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and oftentimes fever and headache. The severe loss of fluid and electrolytes can lead to weakness and low blood pressure. The symptoms typically last less than 12 hours and recovery is achievable.

Staphylococcal food poisoning is can be fatal particularly among the elderly, young children and individuals who have been weakened by long-term illness.

How is it diagnosed

The symptoms are used to diagnose gastroenteritis. A specific diagnosis of staphylococcal food poisoning is usually suspected if other individuals who ingested the same food are also affected and if the condition can be linked to one source of contamination.

When confirming a diagnosis, analysis at a laboratory is required to identify the staphylococci in the suspected food, but this testing is not usually carried out.


The treatment involves intake of more fluids. The doctor might provide an anti-nausea drug either as an injection or suppository to control severe episodes of nausea and vomiting. Oftentimes, if there is excess loss of fluid, it requires replacement given intravenously.


Proper preparation of food can prevent staphylococcal food poisoning. Any individual who has a skin infection should not be allowed to prepare food for others until the infection completely heals.

Food must be consumed right away once served or refrigerated. It should not be stored at room temperature.

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