Food poisoning can be caused by parasites although this tends to be rare. The main cause of transmission is through drinking untreated water or eating contaminated food.

This type of food poisoning is more likely to occur in developing countries than industrialised nations. However, there is one particular type of parasite – known as ‘toxoplasma’ which causes food poisoning in the UK.

This parasite and others are discussed individually within this guide. They are as follows:

What is a parasite?

A parasite is a type of germ (or microbe) which lives on or within any living thing, for example human beings. They are often found in the digestive systems of many animals, for example cats, pigs, cattle etc but are also found in water based environments such as lakes, ponds and rivers.

These parasites are single cell organisms or a type of tapeworm which consume blood or other nutrients within the small intestine, resulting in an inflammation within that area.

Symptoms of parasitical food poisoning

These include:

  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Blood in the faeces (possibly pus as well)
  • Tiredness
  • Flu like symptoms (occur with toxoplasmosis)

These symptoms vary according to the parasite but they will appear as a result of any type of parasitical food poisoning.

At the end of the day, any food which has not been properly prepared, cooked or stored at the right temperature is at risk of contracting bacteria, viruses and parasites. Any of these are liable to cause food poisoning.

Food Poisoning Guide

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