We at Food Poison Blog have been highlighting recently that food poisoning can be, and often is, much more than "just a little diarrhea."  This is especially true for the very young, the very old, and those with compromised immune systems.

Today the news media is reporting on yet another example of the severe nature of these foodborne bugs.  Two kingergarten students from Lee’s Summit, Missouri have been hospitalized due to the symptoms of a Salmonella infection.  At this time it is known that one of the children is in fair condition while the other child’s condition is not being released.  The source of their illnesses is not yet known.  Our thoughts go out to these two kids, and their families, with the hope that a speedy recovery is just around the corner.

Salmonella is the second most commonly reported bacterial foodborne illness in the US (however, only about 3 percent of Salmonella cases are officially reported).  The CDC estimates that 1.4 million cases occur annually, including approximately 600 deaths, accounting for 31 percent of all food-related deaths.

The symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. In mild cases diarrhea may be non-bloody, occur several times per day, and not be very voluminous; in severe cases it may be frequent, bloody and/or mucoid, and of high volume.

Fever generally occurs in the 100°F to 102°F (38°C to 39°C) range. Vomiting is less common than diarrhea. Headaches, myalgias (muscle pain), and arthralgias (joint pain) are often reported as well. Whereas the diarrhea typically lasts 24 to 72 hours, patients often report fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms lasting 7 days or longer.  In some cases more severe, long-term complications arise, including typhoid fever, bacteremia, and Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis).

And just this past week a study conducted by Henrik Nielsen, MD, of Denmark, was cited on WebMD, and reports that Salmonella and Campylobacter infections triple the risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease for at least 15 years post-infection.

Much more than "just a little diarrhea" indeed.