Who’s at Risk
Food poisoning or foodborne illness can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances. But, certain groups of people are more susceptible to foodborne illness. This means that they are more likely to get sick from contaminated food and, if they do get sick, the effects are much more serious.
Some of these groups of people include:
When a woman is pregnant, her immune system is weakened, which makes it harder to fight off harmful microorganisms in food. At the same time, an unborn baby's immune system is not developed enough to fight off dangerous bacteria. In addition, certain toxins in food, such as mercury, can damage an unborn baby’s developing nervous system.
As we age, our immune system and other organs in our bodies become less effective in recognizing and ridding the body of microorganisms that cause foodborne illness. If an older person contracts a foodborne illness, there is a great chance of that the effects will be serious or even deadly.
|Persons with Chronic Illnesses|
If you have a chronic illness such as AIDS, cancer, or diabetes, the illness and sometimes its treatments can weaken your immune system. Similarly, if you are a transplant recipient, you take drugs that you take to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ. These drugs also prevent your immune system from attacking dangerous microorganisms in food.