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Foodborne Illnesses

Foodborne Illnesses

Contamination can occur anywhere. From cleaning chemicals to pathogens, when outside materials are introduced into a food source, foodborne illnesses, aka food poisoning, can happen. There are a vast array of viruses and bacteria that can make people very ill. Rarely is the contamination intentionalómost of the time it is from a simple mistake or oversightóbut it canít be fixed if no one is aware of it.

From a public health perspective, when foodborne illnesses begin in a public establishment, we want to know so we can begin an investigation. Keeping our community safe is our number one priority, so if you believe youíve gotten a foodborne illness, please let us know.

If you experience bloody diarrhea, please seek immediate emergency medical attention.

There are countless bacteria, viruses, substances, and other contaminants which can cause foodborne illnesses. Some of the most common are below.

For other foodborne illnesses, the A to Z Index for Foodborne Illnesses by the CDC is a great resource.

Thankfully foodborne illnesses rarely originate in Lincoln County, but they do occur. Food can be contaminated at a state or national level, and when you bring it home from the grocery store, your family can get ill. Reporting a foodborne illness is critical to help stop the spread of the illness.

If you or someone you know believes they have a foodborne illness, please contact the LCHD. We understand you are likely to not be feeling well when you report; however the following information about your activities leading up to being ill can make the difference in whether we can stop the spread.

We will ask about the following information when you report:

  • When did the symptoms begin? The more exact the better. For example, saying Wednesday morning is better than last week, but saying September 9 around 8pm is best.
  • What symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Are there any other people you know that are experiencing similar symptoms?
  • What have you consumed in the last three days? When you report, we are not going to judge your eating habits. We would rather hear about a pint of ice cream in an evening than leaving it out and having that be where the illness came from. Your personal habits will be kept confidential.
  • Where have you eaten in the last three days? Please try to be as specific and complete as possible. That morning cup of coffee? We want to know. A quick stop for a snack on the way home? We want to know. No piece of information is too little.
  • Have you been seen by a medical professional? If so, what was the result/what was their opinion?

If you experience bloody diarrhea, please seek immediate emergency medical attention.