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Top 7 Germs in Food that Make You SickEach year, one in six Americans get sick from contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recently, an outbreak of Salmonella in raw tuna sickened at least 200 people, and last year's outbreak of Listeria linked with cantalopes sickened 146 people and led to at least 30 deaths, according to the CDC.
You can reduce your risk of getting sick by knowing where germs are likely to be lurking.
Here are seven common culprits of food-borne disease, and how you can avoid them.
E. coliSlide 2 of 15
E. coliEscherichia coli bacteria live in the intestines of people and animals such as cows, sheep and goats. They are often found in foods such as undercooked beef, raw milk and juice, and contaminated water. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting which can last five to 10 days.
To avoid E. coli infections, cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices.
Although most E. coli are relatively harmless, strains such as E. coli O157:H7 can cause bloody diarrhea, kidney failure and even death.Slide 3 of 15
CampylobacterSlide 4 of 15
CampylobacterCampylobacter jejuni are a spiral-shaped bacteria that grow in chickens and in cows, infecting them without any signs of illness.
Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, stomach pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week.
In 2005, Campylobacter was found in 47 percent of raw chicken breasts tested through the Food and Drug Administration's National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring, according to the CDC.
About 13 cases of Campylobacteriosis are diagnosed each year for each 100,000 persons in the population. Most infections are generally mild, but the bacteria can be fatal among very young children, elderly and immunosuppressed individuals, according to the World Health Organization.
Ways to prevent Campylobacter infections include making sure to cook meat thoroughly, wash hands after handling raw foods and cleaning all countertops and kitchen utensils after use, and drinking only milk that has been pasteurized.Slide 5 of 15
ListeriaSlide 6 of 15
ListeriaListeria monocytogenes are bacteria found in soil and water, and are also present in raw foods as well as in processed foods and unpasteurized milk. Unlike other germs, Listeria can grow and spread even in the cold temperatures of an average refrigerator.
Symptoms of Listeria infections include fever and chills, headache, upset stomach and vomiting. But for some people, the illness can become more serious, even fatal. People at increased risk of getting listeriosis are pregnant women and their unborn fetuses, adults over age 50, and people with weak immune systems.
An estimated 1,600 people become seriously ill with listeriosis each year, according to the CDC. Of these, 260 die.
To prevent Listeria infections, the CDC recommends scrubbing firm produce such as melons and cucumbers with a clean produce brush and cleaning up all refrigerator spills right away, especially juices from raw meat, hot dogs and lunch meat.
Factory-sealed, unopened packages of lunch meat should be stored for no longer than two weeks, and meat sliced at a local deli no longer than three to five days in the refrigerator, the CDC says.Slide 7 of 15
VibrioSlide 8 of 15