A foodborne illness may be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or harmful chemicals. Likewise, symptoms range from mild to serious, such as upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, and dehydration (MedlinePlus). As of June 2020, the CDC reports outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with poultry in backyard flocks, such as chicks and ducklings and more recently of Salmonella in onions as of August 2020 (CDC).
The first time I remember my community directly affected by a foodborne illness was after February break this school year in 2020. Environmental science students and teachers from my high school went on their annual trip to Costa Rica over February break and many were not able to physically get on their plane back home. Norovirus plagued the students and continued to ravish until every student had some variation of symptoms. It was concerning to hear that a handful of students were in a Costa Rican hospital, on the other hand, it was equally if not more concerning to see some students come to school the next day with mild symptoms. Despite this event occurring prior to Outbreak! and learning about public health, I knew this was not safe. Ever since then, I have been hesitant about the food I have been putting in my body and paying extra attention to any food recalls I hear from the news.
In hindsight, I think this outbreak of Norovirus should have had the local public health board involved or at least the school. Information about the outbreak was only spread through word of mouth from people on the trip, but it was not a false rumor. I cannot report facts on who the virus was spread to, but I can say the attendance in class was limited and noticeable. There should be more awareness of foodborne illnesses and an easy, publicized way to report any cases to the local department of public health.
“The 4 Rules of Food Safety.” Mendocino County, www.mendocinocounty.org/Home/ShowPublishedImage/3750/636378914267600000.
“Dino Tattoo Cartoon.” StateFoodSafety.com, i.pinimg.com/originals/3d/ca/ff/3dcaff927788dcf90210c2ce3b954939.jpg.
“Food Poisoning | Foodborne Illness.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 17 Aug. 2020, medlineplus.gov/foodborneillness.html.
“Foodborne Illness.” Mass.gov, www.mass.gov/files/styles/social_media/public/2018-05/shutterstock_86760112_mobile_0.jpg?itok=lfiaavsK.
“Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Backyard Poultry.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 July 2020, www.cdc.gov/salmonella/backyardpoultry-05-20/index.html.
“Outbreak of Salmonella Newport Infections Linked to Onions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/salmonella/newport-07-20/index.html.