If you are the type of person who plays “fast and loose” with food safety—maybe, you are willing to eat those deviled eggs that have been sitting on the buffet table all day—there is a good chance you had to deal with food poisoning occasionally. And, you might not have even recognized your issues as food poisoning, as some cases can be much milder than others.
Most of us generally understand that improper food handling and storage temperatures can allow the pathogens that cause foodborne illness to contaminate our food. But what if someone else in your household ate contaminated food and you did not? Is it possible to contract a foodborne illness from another person? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
How Food Poisoning Can Be Spread
There are two basic ways in which food poisoning spreads from person to person. The first is through direct exposure to the bodily fluids of an infected person. For example, if your spouse is suffering from a foodborne illness caused by norovirus, the virus is likely to be present in his or her vomit or diarrhea. This means you need to be extra careful as you help care for your spouse and to take all proper precautions to avoid exposure to the pathogen.
The other and decidedly more dangerous way in which food poisoning can be spread is through poor hygiene by a person who has contracted a food poisoning pathogen. This can allow the pathogen to spread to a much wider range of people, and the infected person does not even need to be symptomatic in order to spread foodborne illness. Poor hygiene can allow infected fecal material to spread from an infected person’s hands to food that the infected person is preparing for family members—or even customers if the infected person is a food service worker.
A famous example can be found in Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mary was a non-symptomatic carrier of Salmonella typhi, and because of her duties as a cook and domestic worker, she spread the typhoid fever to as many as 120 people directly. She would later be considered the most likely main cause of the typhoid fever outbreak that affected nearly 3,000 people in turn-of-the-century New York.
Speak With a Chicago Food Poisoning Attorney
If you have become ill after being exposed to a foodborne pathogen, an experienced Illinois food poisoning lawyer can help you track down what caused your illness and determine which party or parties could be held responsible. Contact the offices of Newland & Newland, LLP to get started on your case today. Call 312-981-0409 for a free consultation.