The symptoms of chemical poisoning vary according to the poison
involved; however, most poisons cause:
The onset of symptoms is usually brief and characterized by the
simultaneous occurrence of many cases.
Treatment varies with the particular poison, but usually includes the
following general principles:
-- Evacuating the bulk of the poison from the stomach and intestinal
tract by lavage (irrigation), emetics, and/or cathartics.
Administration of appropriate antidotes to neutralize the poison.
Eliminating poison already absorbed, by hydration, dialysis, or other
Symptomatic treatment as indicated.
e. Bacterial Intoxication. Two important types of intoxication are caused by
ingesting toxins formed by bacteria acting on foods: staphylococcal intoxication and
(1) Staphylococcal intoxication. Almost 80 percent of all reported outbreaks
of gastroenteritis in the United States belong to this group.
Causative agent. The causative agent is a toxin produced by certain
strains of staphylococci.
Signs/symptoms. The illness is characterized by an abrupt and
sometimes violent onset with severe nausea, vomiting, prostration, and sometimes-
severe diarrhea. The symptoms occur shortly after eating contaminated food.
Incubation period. The incubation period is short, average 1 to 6
Diagnosis. There are no satisfactory laboratory tests that can aid in
the actual diagnosis; however, if specimen of all foods can be obtained for culture, the
finding of staphylococci is suggestive.
Prognosis. The disease is usually mild, rarely producing death.