Beware of These 5 Bacteria
Top pathogens that cause foodborne illness and how they affect your health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knows of 31 pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses, though many unknown microorganisms cause sickness, too. Read on to learn about five common pathogens, where they live, and the symptoms they may cause if consumed.
Salmonella: This strain of bacteria is behind most foodborne deaths and sickens millions of people each year.
Found in: raw meat, undercooked eggs, raw milk and cheese, and produce.
Symptoms: abdominal cramps, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
E. coli: While some strains of E. coli are harmless, others—such as the common E. coli 0157—can cause illness.
Found in: beef, unpasteurized cider, and raw milk and cheese.
Symptoms: diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
Norovirus: This virus (often called the flu) causes the most cases of food poisoning a year, and is highly contagious. You can pick up norovirus from an infected person, by touching contaminated surfaces, or eating foods that have been touched by infected workers.
Found in: produce, ready-to-eat meals, and shellfish.
Symptoms: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, headache, and body aches.
Campylobacter: These bacteria usually cause sickness within two to five days of ingestion.
Found in: raw or undercooked meat.
Symptoms: cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
Listeria: The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is especially dangerous for pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, including those with diabetes.
Found in: deli meats, hot dogs, soft cheese, raw milk, smoked seafood, and sprouts.
Symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, confusion, fever, and muscle aches.