Danger when grilling: getting sick from Campylobacter or Salmonella

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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The food germs Campylobacter and Salmonella are widespread throughout the world. In this country, infections caused by these bacteria occur mainly in the hot season – with a peak at Christmas and after New Year’s Eve, where Chicken meat, for example, is often used in raclette or fondue.. In 2023, 40,215 cases of the notifiable disease Campylobacter enteritis were reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) across the country. 10,698 people suffered from salmonellosis. As only reported infections are counted, there is likely to be a high number of unreported cases.

How can you get infected with Campylobacter?

Types of meat such as beef or pork, but especially chicken, can be contaminated with the food germ Campylobacter. Campylobacter bacteria can cause serious gastrointestinal infections. However, some precautionary measures can prevent infection. It is important to cook the meat well on the grill or fry in the pan.

The main risk of infection lies mainly in the preparation: anyone who cuts contaminated meat and then uses the same knife and board to cut the salad transmits the bacteria. This is how most people get infected.

What are the symptoms of Campylobacter infection?

Many Campylobacter infections have no symptoms. However, if acute enteritis (inflammation of the intestines) occurs, fever, abdominal pain or cramping, nausea, headache and muscle pain, or diarrhea may occur.

How dangerous is Campylobacter?

An infection usually proceeds without complications and symptoms go away on their own. In rare cases, rheumatoid arthritis or Guillain-Barré syndrome may occur, which can cause symptoms of paralysis. Additionally, a connection is thought to be possible between a Campylobacter infection and irritable bowel syndrome and chronic inflammatory bowel disease. according to the RKI [externer Link].

How do you treat a Campylobacter infection?

Treatment is often not necessary. If the sick person only has mild symptoms, the infection will go away on its own. If symptoms are severe, such as high fever and severe diarrhea, hospitalization is sometimes necessary so that the lack of fluids can be compensated with infusions. An antibiotic may also be given.

How long does a Campylobacter infection last?

The incubation period is usually two to five days, in individual cases only one day or up to ten days. The illness itself usually lasts a maximum of a week, rarely longer. As long as sick people excrete the pathogen in their feces – and this can happen for up to four weeks – they are also contagious. This is why thorough cell phone hygiene after using the bathroom is important.

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