Unless you’re a microbiologist, doctor, or food poisoning lawyer, you may not have even heard of Clostridium perfringens, which is a leading cause of food poisoning in the United States.
What is Clostridium perfringens?
Clostridium perfringens a bacterium that is widely distributed in the environment. Most outbreaks of this “bug”are associated with undercooked meats prepared for large groups of people. Meat products such as stews, casseroles, and gravy are the most common sources of illness from Clostridium perfringens. Most outbreaks come from food whose temperature is poorly controlled. If food is kept between 70 and 140 F, it is likely to grow Clostridium perfringens bacteria.
What is the illness caused by Clostridium perfringens typically like?
People generally experience symptoms of Clostridium perfringens infection 6 to 24 hours after consuming the bacteria or toxins. Clostridium perfringens toxins cause abdominal pain and stomach cramps, followed by diarrhea. Nausea is also a common symptom. Fever and vomiting are not normally symptoms of poisoning by Clostridium perfringens toxins.
Illness from Clostridium perfringens generally lasts around 24 hours, and is rarely fatal.
The Type C strain of Clostridium perfringens can cause a more serious condition called Pig-bel Syndrome. This syndrome can cause intestinal cells to die and can often be fatal.
You can learn more about Clostridium Perfringens at Foodborneillness.com.