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Food Poisoning Deaths Most Prevalent in Children, WHO Says

Posted on in Food Poisoning

By Shawn Kasserman

food poisoning deaths, Illinois personal injury lawyersEach year, food poisoning causes 550 million illnesses and 230,000 deaths worldwide. Children, who make up only 10 percent of the world’s population, account for at least one-third of those deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently found. But even more devastating than the statistics themselves is the fact that foodborne illnesses are completely preventable.

The Human Cost of Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illnesses can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or chemicals found in food or water. In countries like Africa and Southeast Asia, most illnesses can be traced back to a lack of unclean or improperly stored water. But foodborne illness is not sanctioned to developing countries. In fact, nearly 10 percent of all people around the world (600 million) fall ill because foods have been improperly grown, handled, stored, or cooked. Of those, 420,000 die; 125,000 of them are children under the age of five.

Contaminated Food and its Connection to Fatal Foodborne Illnesses

According to WHO, Salmonella, campylobacter, norovirus, and E. coli—all caused by the improper cooking, handling, or growing of foods—cause more than 550 million illnesses and 230,000 deaths each year. This makes the mishandling of food responsible for more than half of all worldwide food poisoning cases each year. Approximately 70 percent of these cases were found in the African region, but these same strains of pathogens also caused 77 million illnesses and 9,000 deaths in the Americas—more than 2,000 of which were children.

Why Children are Particularly Susceptible

Young children are still developing their immune systems; this makes them more susceptible to illness from foodborne pathogens, but it also makes it more difficult for them to recover. Symptoms like diarrhea—one of the most common symptoms among all strains of food poisoning—only further compounds their illness by causing dehydration. For this reason, parents should avoid feeding their children unpasteurized, raw, or undercooked foods. Honey should also be avoided because it can harbor spores that can potentially cause botulism.

When Negligence Causes Food Poisoning

While some foodborne illnesses are caused by water contamination or through feeding raw, mishandled, or undercooked foods to children at home, there are many cases in which the food poisoning occurred because of someone else’s negligence. Restaurants, grocery stores, food manufacturing companies, and farmers are all potential culprits. When that source can be traced, and a serious illness has occurred, victims may seek compensation.

At Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, we offer aggressive representation and compassionate advocacy to victims of food poisoning. Our well-tuned investigatory skills can help you build a case against responsible parties, and we will work hard to get you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact our skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys. Call 312-605-8800 today.

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/12/03/food-poisoning-deaths-disproportionately-affect-children

http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/food-safety-tips-for-young-children

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