Cabarrus Health Alliance received preliminary test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to food samples from the Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church BBQ held on November 1, 2018.
Samples of the barbecue pork, Brunswick stew, cole slaw and barbecue sauce were all tested to identify potential cause for illness. The Brunswick stew cultures tested positive for C. perfringens. C. perfringensis a common cause for food poisoning and infection often occurs when foods are prepared in large quantities and kept warm for a long time before serving. All other foods tested negative.
People infected with C. perfringens develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours (typically 8 to 12 hours). The illness usually begins suddenly and lasts for less than 24 hours.
Cabarrus Health Alliance officials are asking individuals to dispose of all leftovers and additional food purchased from the BBQ due to risk of cross-contamination.
Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans. Clostridium perfringens and its toxins are found everywhere in the environment, but human infection is most likely to come from eating food with Clostridium perfringens in it. Food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens fairly common, but is typically not too severe, and is often mistaken for the 24-hour flu.
Source of Clostridium perfringens
The majority of outbreaks are associated with undercooked meats, often in large quantities of food prepared for a large group of people and left to sit out for long periods of time. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the “food service germ.” Meat products such as stews, casseroles, and gravy are the most common sources of illness from C. 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.
Symptoms of Clostridium perfringens Infection
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 perferingens generally lasts around 24 hours, and is rarely fatal.
Complication from Clostridium perfringens
The Type C strain of Clostridium perfringens can cause a more serious condition called Pig-bel Syndrome. This syndrome can cause death of intestinal cells and can often be fatal.
Preventing a Clostridium perfringens Infection
To prevent infection by Clostridium perfringens, follow the these tips:
Cook foods containing meat thoroughly
If keeping foods out, make sure they maintain a temperature of 140 F (60 C)When storing food in the refrigerator, divide it into pieces with a thickness of three inches or less so that it cools fasterReheat foods to at least 165 F (74 C).