Salmonella and Other Food-Based Diseases You Could Have Without Knowing

A  salmonella outbreak led to the largest egg recall in nearly a decade, with several people hospitalized so far.

There are a few foodborne illnesses that you can pinpoint from the start, while others are trickier to nail down. It’s important to know some of the symptoms that don’t send you running to the bathroom — they can still be dangerous for your body and health.

1. Salmonella

Fresh chicken and quail eggs on a wooden rustic background

Make sure your eggs weren’t recalled recently. |

A lot of people are nervous they’ve eaten Rose Acre Farm’s eggs (they’re the second largest egg supplier in the U.S.) in light of the recent recall of 206 million eggs across nine states. The CDC estimated salmonella infections cause about 450 deaths every year in the U.S. While healthy people who contract the illness can usually recover without treatment, this isn’t the case for everyone.

Experts reported it’s possible you’ll show no symptoms of salmonella. This becomes concerning when people forgo the proper treatment methods due to lack of awareness.

Next: We recommend you order your steak medium-well

2. E. coli

person's hands in a bowl of ground beef making meatballs

Undercooked ground beef is a leading source of this disease. | iStock/Getty Images

You can contract certain strains of E. coli from undercooked ground beef, contaminated vegetables, and unpasteurized fruit juice. While most E. coli are harmless to humans, a few strains can cause severe disease.

E. Coli can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and can lead to shock and death if left untreated. However, most people don’t know they’re infected by E. coli unless they’re informed of an outbreak, and not everyone shows symptoms.

Next: You probably came into contact with this virus if you took a cruise recently

3. Norovirus

A foreign crew member serves drinks on cruise ship

There’s another name for this disease: the “cruise ship virus.” | Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

Norovirus, commonly referred to as the “cruise ship virus,” is a viral infection that causes diarrhea and vomiting and is spread by either infected people or contaminated water and food.

However, symptoms occasionally only present themselves as a minor headache or low-grade fever. Science Daily found that asymptomatic norovirus infection helped the disease spread in Indonesia. This means you could contract the most common cause of food poisoning without even knowing it.

Next: One of the most common waterborne diseases may lay dormant

4. Cryptosporidiosis

woman drinking water

You definitely want to make sure you’re drinking clean water. | M-imagephotography/iStock/Getty Images

The diarrheal disease is actually one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in U.S. citizens. The parasites are commonly found in our drinking and recreational water, but can also be found in soil, food, and on infected surfaces.

The common symptoms are diarrhea, dehydration, cramps, and weight loss, but some people with crypto remain asymptomatic.

Next: This is one of the most common food-borne diseases in the U.S.

5. Campylobacter

Raw whole chicken with knife

Make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly | vicuschka/iStock/Getty Images

Campylobacter, one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the U.S., typically comes from undercooked chicken, unpasteurized milk, and contaminated water. It’s one of the top six viruses that cause the most illnesses and deaths nationwide.

Those who show symptoms experience diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting for anywhere from two to 10 days after eating or drinking contaminated poultry or water. However, some people don’t display severe enough symptoms to know they’re infected.

Next: You could contract this disease and remain asymptomatic for months.

6. Listeria

a sandwich made with deli meat, cheese, and veggies

Your sandwich may not be as safe as you think. | Rez-art/iStock/Getty Image

There are plenty of concerning facts about Listeria — a bacteria found in soil and some animals — but one of the worst is that it has an incubation period of anywhere from three to 70 days. This means you could eat contaminated food, but won’t experience symptoms until a few months after.

Common symptoms of listeria are fever, stiff neck, and confusion. If you experience a stiff neck, seek medical attention immediately. Older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems have the highest risk of developing serious symptoms. Listeria has been found in ready-to-eat deli meats, raw milk, soft cheese made from raw milk (queso fresco, feta, brie) and raw sprouts.

Next: Watch where your children have been!

7. Shigellosis

Baby and dog outside

Toddlers are more likely to contract this disease than older adults are. | Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Shigellosis, a bacterial infection caused by the Shigella bacteria, primarily affects the digestive system by releasing toxins that mess with your intestines. The most common symptom is diarrhea, but it’s possible to have a mild infection with few or no symptoms.

The infection spreads through contaminated food, water, and contact with contaminated feces. Toddlers are more likely to contract shigellosis than adults due to proximity to daycare centers as well as how they unknowingly spread bacteria via hand-to-mouth contact.

Next: Don’t worry … you can still protect yourself from these diseases.

How to protect yourself from food-borne illness

Seniors cooking together in a kitchen

Keep your kitchen disinfected to avoid these illnesses. | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images

One of the top tactics to prevent food-borne illness is cleanliness. Food-borne illnesses strike nearly as much from food cooked at home as they do in a restaurant, so it’s important to keep your kitchen clean, especially while preparing dinner.

Invest in a kitchen thermometer to ensure you cook meat and fish to the proper temperature. The United States Department of Agriculture also recommends you use disposable products when handling raw food and rid of them afterward. Never use the same product you handled raw food on for the cooked food.

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