Many long-term health effects may result from food-borne pathogens

Los Angeles Times (11/14, Healy) reported that, according to “a pair of reports released” last week by the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, “many people suffer long-term health effects, mostly unrecognized,” resulting from “food-borne pathogens. These lingering effects — premature death, paralysis, kidney failure, and a lifetime of seizures or mental disability — may cause more disability, lost productivity, doctor visits, and hospitalizations than the acute illnesses that follow exposure to a food-borne toxin.” What’s more, the “pathogens hit hardest among the youngest patients,” children under the age of four.

MedPage Today (11/13, Fiore) reported that “five common foodborne pathogens may increase the risk of serious complications, according to lead author Tanya Roberts, PhD,” including “campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, salmonella, and toxoplasma gondii.” After performing a literature review, investigators “found that campylobacter infection is associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome,” and “can also trigger arthritis, heart infections, and blood infections.” However, E. coli “is the leading cause of acute kidney failure in children in the US, and has been tied to end-stage kidney disease, neurological complications, and insulin-dependent diabetes,” whereas “salmonella can trigger reactive arthritis, and Toxoplasma gondii infections can lead to cognitive or visual disabilities.”

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