Oh crap! Food mistakes are poison for Ipswich locals
POO-contaminated food, under-cooked meats and dodgy seafood are making hundreds of Ipswich residents sick each year.
A special Queensland Times investigation reveals 4077 Ispwich residents had food poisoning in the past five years.
Last year saw 745 easily preventable cases of gastrointestinal disease including 468 reports of campylobacter, 37 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.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service public health physician Dr Catherine Quagliotto said the rates of gastro notifications were on par with previous years.
"Members of the West Moreton Public Health Unit follow up notified cases of gastrointestinal disease within the region to determine the likely source and location of infection and recommend measures, such as increased hand hygiene or food safety advice, to prevent further cases from occurring," Dr Quagliotto said.
"The unit also works with local child care centres, aged care facilities, local government, other institutions and organisations to provide education and support to have in place appropriate processes to prevent all types of infection, including gastrointestinal diseases."
BY THE NUMBERS
Gastrointestinal disease notifications across West Moreton Hospital and Health Service region in 2018
Hepatitis A, 4
Hepatitis E, 1
Shiga toxin-producing E.coli, 4