Clostridium Perfringens (Food Poisoning)

Clostrdial Perfringens food poisoning is an acute intestinal disorder caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium Perfringens. The illness is characterized by sudden onset of diarrhea within hours of eating contaminated food and usually resolves within a day.

Where does it occur?

It occurs worldwide.

How is it transmitted?

It is transmitted by the ingestion of food containing the bacteria; usually dishes containing meat that has been slow cooked and then left out at room temperature for hours. Typical dishes that are risky are meat stews, meat pies and gravies.

Is it contagious from person to person?

No

What is the risk for travelers?

The risk is generally low, but moderate if eating at buffets where food is left out for hours.

How soon after exposure will I develop symptoms?

Symptoms usually develop 6-12 hours after ingestion of contaminated food.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Usually 6-12 hours after ingestion of contaminated food one develops sudden onset of clear watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Nausea, vomiting and fever are not commonly seen.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment is supportive.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose illness?

The organism can be cultured from stool and food; however the diagnosis is usually made based on presenting with typical symptoms with history of risky food ingestion.

What preventive measures can be taken?

One can limit the risk by eating only piping hot food and not eating food left out at room temperature.

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