Foodborne Illness: Unspecified
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Foodborne Illness: Unspecified

This category of food borne illnesses is so termed because for some reason/s, the causative agent remains unidentified or unknown. Some of these reasons could be:

  • Lack of stool cultures – for many reasons stool samples may not be provided;
  • Late notification of the illness;
  • Viral gastroenteritis (e.g. gastric flu) is not normally tested on a regular basis;
  • The causative agent may not yet have been identified.

The signs and symptoms of these food borne illnesses are very non-specific and similar to any other food borne illness (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever). Treatment does not differentiate from other food borne illnesses, so it involves oral rehydration and treatment of symptoms and control of fever. Prevention and control of this category of food borne illnesses, involve proper and frequent hand washing, proper food preparation and adequate food temperature control.

Vomiting incidents may be frequent and should be treated effectively and adequately by isolation of the area (1-2metres). Vomitus spillage should be cleaned by being covered with absorbent paper towels; when all liquid material has been soaked up all material should be collected in a disposable plastic bag which should be effectively sealed and thrown away. During this activity it is best if the nose and mouth are temporarily covered with an ordinary mask or a moist handkerchief and gloves are worn. The premises should be well aerated and flooring and hands cleaned properly with soap and water. 

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