Food Borne Illness

Preterm Labor Unrelated to Ingestion of Food

A restaurant chain in Texas was accused by a female patron of causing her to develop an infection which caused her to abort her pregnancy in the second trimester, delivering a preterm infant, who had survived, but was mentally and physically disabled. Several hours after eating at the restaurant, she had developed abdominal pain and cramping which she believed was food poisoning. Emergency room evaluation revealed she was in preterm labor; a severely ill, preterm infant was delivered. Careful evaluation of the hospital records, including culture results, and infectious disease consultations revealed that the woman was found to have Gardnerella vaginosis. This is the bacterial vaginosis organism, a known cause of preterm labor. It is unrelated to ingestion of food.

Fear of Hepatitis Among Kitchen Workers

ICTM principals have evaluated claims of food borne illness involving national restaurant chains, public institutions and schools. In each instance, analysis of the medical records of the affected individuals was necessary, including culture and toxin identification, interaction with the state testing laboratory and the public health department. At times, it was necessary for our physician to speak with individuals or groups of individuals who were concerned about their potential exposure or future risks to their health. In one matter, involving prison kitchen workers, the employees were refusing to work because they mistakenly feared they were going to contract hepatitis from a co-worker who had positive antibody testing, but who had no evidence of active disease. The ICTM physician was asked to address the workers, explain the condition, its mode of transmission and the lack of risk to their health under their usual working conditions.

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