Exposed to a foodborne illness?
If you suspect you have been exposed to a foodborne illness, please contact the Summit County Health Department at 435-333-1511. We will begin an investigation and try to help prevent the further spread of the illness. Please visit your doctor if necessary.
We do not provide medical services.
Foodborne Illness – Clostridium Perfringens Poisoning
Clostridium perfringens is an anaerobic, spore former (anaerobic means unable to grow in the presence of free oxygen). It is widely distributed in the environment and frequently occurs in the intestines of humans and many domestic and feral animals. Spores of the organism persist in soil, sediments, and areas subject to human or animal fecal pollution.
Many times, people confuse this foodborne illness with the “24-Hour Flu.” The illness is usually over within 24 hours. Less severe symptoms may last longer for some people, especially very young or elderly people.
- Intense abdominal pain
- Diarrhea begins 8 to 22 hours after eating foods that contain these bacteria
- Dehydration can occur with this type of foodborne illness
How It Is Spread
- Poor temperature control
- Between the temperatures of 70ºF and 140ºF, when air and moisture levels are right, these organisms will produce the toxin that makes people sick.
- Meats, meat products, and gravy are the foods most frequently containing the spores.
Diagnosis & Treatment
- Perfringens poisoning is diagnosed by its symptoms and the typical delayed onset of illness. The bacteria can be identified from a stool sample.
- Diagnosis is confirmed by detecting the toxin in the feces of patients.
- Bacteriological confirmation can also be done by finding exceptionally large numbers of the causative bacteria in implicated foods or in the feces of patients.
- Thoroughly cook foods with meat – such as stews, soups and casseroles.
- Keep hot foods hot (above 140ºF) and cold foods cold (below 45ºF).
- If you have a large portion of food leftover, divide it into smaller portions less than two inches deep to refrigerate so it cools quickly. Leave the food uncovered until it reaches 45ºF.
- Reheat foods to at least 165ºF.
Environmental Health Division, Summit County Health Department
650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, Utah 84060
Phone: 435-333-1511, Fax: 435-333-1580