Oh crap! Food mistakes are poison for Bundaberg locals
POO-contaminated food, under-cooked meats and dodgy seafood are making hundreds of Bundaberg residents sick each year.
A special NewsMail investigation reveals 2820 Wide Bay health district locals had food poisoning in the past five years.
Last year saw 496 easily preventable cases of gastrointestinal disease including 268 reports of campylobacter, 12 of cryptosporidiosis and 178 cases of salmonella, Queensland Health notifiable disease data shows.
Most of these illnesses are caused by faeces-laden food or water, incorrectly prepared meats, bad seafood and questionable leftovers. Food poisoning costs the Australian economy $1.2billion a year.
Disease expert Dr Vincent Ho urged locals to make simple changes in the kitchen to keep these diseases at bay.
"Anyone can get these types of infections but some people are more susceptible to them including the elderly, those with poor immune systems and those who are very sick," the University of Western Sydney academic said.
"In general campylobacter and salmonella can come from contact with different food but cryptosporidiosis is a bit different as it can be found in natural water sources like recreational water parks, rivers and areas where faecal matter is in the water.
"Infections can make you quite sick but people who are vulnerable can become extremely sick and die from the conditions."
Dr Ho said suggested these simple steps to avoid food poisoning:
Separate raw red meats, poultry and eggs from other foods;
Wash fruits and vegies before eating;
Use a separate cloth to dry dishes;
Avoid eating under-cooked meats;
Use different chopping boards for meats and other foods; and
Wash hands thoroughly.
"If you want to really reduce the likelihood of contamination wash your hands for at least 15 seconds," he said.
Wide Bay Public Health physician Dr Margaret Young said local rates of rates of campylobacter were below the state average, but salmonella was on par with the rest of Queensland.
"The Public Health Unit monitors notifications of gastroenteric infections, investigating possible clusters and reports of possible outbreaks," Dr Young said.
"General food safety messages are conveyed to the public through various media at key times during the year including Easter and Christmas." -NewsRegional
BY THE NUMBERS
Gastrointestinal disease notifications across Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service region in 2018
Hepatitis A, 0
Hepatitis E, 2
Shiga toxin-producing E.coli, 0