Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Clare Veg News Report: Salmonella, Raw Meat and Young Children

A health warning has gone out to parents to keep their children out of shopping trolleys containing raw meat - even if the meat is double bagged. Infant exposure to raw meat can, according to the surveillance group working under the auspices of the HSE, increase the risk of non-typhoidal salmonella, especially in children under three months. 

Salmonella infections affect the intestines, causing vomiting, fever and other symptoms. Salmonella is a foodborne illness caused by the salmonella bacteria carried by some animals. The type of salmonella most commonly associated with infections in humans is called nontyphoidal salmonella. It is carried by chickens, cows and reptiles such as turtles, lizards, and iguanas. The HSE has cautioned parents that reptiles such as those listed are not suitable in homes where there are young children.

The health surveillance group has also said that breasfeeding, because mother’s milk is the safest food for young infants, is a good way to protect against infection.

Although salmonella is generally on the decrease in Ireland - between 2007 and 2009 the number of cases fell from 456 to 333 - instances remain alarmingly high in children aged 0-4 years. Infantile salmonellosis is a serious disease as bloodstream infection is more likely to develop.

Salmonella is also a leading cause of intussception, a medical condition in which part of the intestine folds back into another section of the intestine, often resulting in an obstruction.

Please pass this article to parents with young children, especially those who regularly buy raw meat from supermarkets. 

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