Date PostedSeptember 14, 2012

Hidden Dangers of Food Contamination – Cyclospora

It seems that each day somewhere in the world someone is contracting some or the other form of food borne illness. There are a number of contaminants that most people aren’t even aware of, such as Cyclosporiasis. This is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite which attacks human beings when ingested. This disease is spread through the consumption of contaminated food and water. People who travel to countries where the disease is common are most at risk.

But how do you know if you have contracted this contamination? The symptoms normally take 2 to 14 days to manifest after being consumed and symptoms include watery diarrhoea, a loss of appetite and weight loss, cramping, bloating, increased flatulence, nausea and fatigue as well as vomiting and a fever. The good news is that this contamination is not usually deadly.

Contamination can be avoided by refraining from eating contaminated food or water, you can tell that food and water may be contaminated if there is the possibility that faecal matter may have entered it.

Foods such as fruit and vegetables can also become contaminated with this parasite and can be avoided by utilising good agricultural and manufacturing processes.

Food handlers have an important role to play in avoiding contamination and infection. If food handlers have been diagnosed with aCyclospora infection or have diarrhoea that has not be positively diagnosed they should refrain from work until the sickness is completely over.

They should not prepare food for others, even at home because they can spread the contamination. It is also important that food handlers never underestimate the importance of washing their hands. This includes before beginning food preparation and after using the toilet.

(Photo: akeeris / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Hand washing should be engaged in under the following circumstances:

• Prior to starting work

• Before they handle cooked or ready-to-eat food

• After they handle or prepare raw food

• After touching or handling waste

• After performing cleaning duties

• After using the toilet, blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing

• After eating, drinking or smoking

• Or after touching or handling money

In order to combat the spread of this disease there is a procedure for the correct hand washing:

1. Wet or pre-rinse hands with clean, warm running water under the tap.

2. Take liquid or foam soap in your hand.

3. Lather aggressively for 15-20 seconds minimum and ensure you scrub the backs of your hands, between fingers and under your nails, encompass the entre hand.Nail brushes can be effective in washing hands more thoroughly especially under nails.

4. Then make sure you thoroughly rinse hands under the running water of the tap until all the soap is washed off your hands.

5. Finally dry with a single-use paper towel, clean cloth towel or air dry under a dryer. Try not to touch taps, rather use a paper towel. Many venues are not fitting electronic taps which is more hygienic and cost effective because there is less water wastage.

By ensuring that your hands are thoroughly cleaned you can avoid being a carrier of this parasitic contaminant.

 

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