botulism and uremic hemolytic syndrome are more common in summer



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Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), rotavirus or botulism are some of the diseases that appear most in the summer due to the ingestion of unsafe foods, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) they affect 600 million people per year and generate spending of about $ 100 billion in low- and middle-income countries.

"Foodborne illnesses (FBD) are more frequent in the summer, as humidity and temperature conditions facilitate the rapid growth of germs and the generation of toxins in contaminated products"explained gastroenterologist Silvina Gonçalves, head of Emergencies at Udaondo Hospital in the city of Buenos Aires.

The specialist warned that the groups most affected are young children, pregnant women, the elderly and patients with an altered immune system, such as transplanted, immunosuppressed or people with HIV or cancer.

"Meals may be considered unsafe when, due to lack of hygiene and sanitation or because of their origin and conservation, they are capable of producing food poisoning or infectious diseases." Improperly refrigerated creams allow the proliferation of bacteria, cooked with uncontrolled pork meat can cause trichinosis or unpasteurized cheeses can cause brucellosis, "said pediatrician Elizabeth Bogdanowicz, a pediatrician for infectious diseases.

The specialist, who works at the Hospital de ClĂ­nicas in Buenos Aires and is a member of the Argentine Society of Pediatrics (SAP), explained that the ETA may be of bacterial origin, such as salmonellosis, HUS, botulism, and typhoid fever; viruses such as norvirus, rotavirus or hepatitis A; or caused by parasites such as toxoplasmosis, hydatidosis or trichinosis.

"Although ETAs are not necessarily seasonal, because they can appear at any time of year, the summer season is especially critical for food safety, since high temperatures favor the development of microorganisms"said Bogdanowicz.

"The humid climate – continued – high temperatures, incorrect manipulations, lack of cooking or inadequate cooking and neglect of hygiene are the main factors that can lead to the contamination of a food and cause intoxications and infections, frequent in summer.

According to Goncalves, in The US ETA causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually.

"To avoid food poisoning, you should wash your hands frequently and always before cooking or cleaning, and always wash them after touching raw meat," he advised.

He also advised cleaning dishes and utensils that were in contact with raw meats, fish, chicken or eggs, cooking at the right temperature for each type of meat and refrigerating perishable food or leftovers in a two-hour period.

For his part, Bogdanowicz agreed and added that "they protect the food and the kitchen area against insects, pets and other animals and preserve food in separate containers to avoid contact between raw and cooked."

"It is also recommended not to thaw foods at room temperature because some bacteria can multiply very quickly and avoid cutting the cold chain, since in summer the food is more susceptible, especially if it is transported out of the house to take it away, "she added.

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