July 19, 2021

Staphylococcal food poisoning

Staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP) is an intoxication and one of the most common food-borne diseases results from the ingestion of staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) preformed in food by enterotoxigenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus and very occasionally by other staphylococci species such as Staphylococcus intermedius.

Staphylococcus aureus is important because it has the ability to make seven different toxins that are frequently responsible for food poisoning.

Typically, staphylococcal food poisoning is a self-limiting disease, presenting with emesis following a short incubation period. Symptoms start 30 minutes to 6 hrs after ingestion of staphylococcal enterotoxins and spontaneously subside after 24 hr.

Foods that have been frequently incriminated in staphylococcal intoxication include meat and meat products, poultry and egg products, milk and dairy products, salads, bakery products, particularly cream-filled pastries and cakes, and sandwich fillings.

The first description of food-borne disease involving staphylococci was investigated in Michigan (USA) in 1884 by Vaughan and Sternberg.

Staphylococcal enterotoxins belong to the group of exotoxins and act in the gastrointestinal tract. They possess superantigen character and can therefore unspesifically activate T-cells.

Food handlers carrying enterotoxin-producing S. aureus in their noses or on their hands are regarded as the main source of food contamination, via manual contact or through respiratory secretions. In fact, S. aureus is a common commensal of the skin and mucosal membranes of humans, with estimates of 20–30% for persistent and 60% for intermittent colonization.
Staphylococcal food poisoning

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