Staphylococcal food poisoning
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium found on the skin and in the nostrils of up to 25% of healthy humans. Toxin from this organism is elaborated in food such as custards, potato salad, and processed meat. Even if the bacteria are killed by warming, the heat-stable toxin remains intact. Symptoms of food poisoning are usually rapid and occur within 1-6 hours of eating contaminated food.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hypotension and dehydration can occur in severe infection. The rapid onset of symptoms, lack of fever, and epidemic nature of the presentation can be indicators of staphylococcal food poisoning. Ingestion of potentially contaminated foods (examples above) also provides clues for consideration of this disease. Symptoms generally resolve within 8-10 hours. Treatment is entirely supportive.
A05.0 – Foodborne staphylococcal intoxication
84622004 – Food poisoning due to staphylococcus
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls