One of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States, Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) are bacteria that can be found on raw meat and poultry, in the intestines of animals and humans, and in the environment.
Some strains produce a toxin that causes diarrhea. CDC estimates C. perfringens causes nearly 1 million cases of foodborne illness each year in the United States.
Beef, poultry, gravies, and other foods cooked in large batches and held at an unsafe temperature.
Outbreaks tend to happen in places that serve large groups of people, such as hospitals, school cafeterias, prisons, nursing homes, and catered events — food left for long periods in steam tables or at room temperature.
C. perfringens outbreaks occur most often in November and December. Many of these outbreaks have been linked to foods commonly served during the holidays, such as turkey and roast beef.
Time and/or temperature abused foods.
People with C. perfringens food poisoning develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours after eating contaminated food.
The illness usually begins suddenly and lasts for less than 24 hours. In severe cases, symptoms may last for 1-2 weeks.
Everyone is at risk for C. perfringens. Young children and older adults are at greater risk.
People afflicted with diarrhea can become dehydrated, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids.
This infection usually does not cause fever or vomiting, and it cannot be passed from one person to another.
Foods that have dangerous bacteria in them may not taste, smell, or look different. Any food that has been left out too long may be dangerous to eat, even if it looks okay.
Clinical laboratories do not routinely test for C. perfringens infection, and public health laboratories usually test for it only when it is the suspected cause of an outbreak
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