What is Food Borne Illness?
Any illness which can be caused by
eating contaminated food or water is a
foodborne illness. More than thirty
different types of food borne illness
Types of Foodborne Illness:
Caused by toxins when certain types of
microbes are allowed to grow in the
Caused when microbes (bacteria,
protozoan) invade and begin attacking,
usually, the digestive system.
Cause when virus particles enter the
body through food or water. Common ones
affect the digestive tract or the liver.
• Most foodborne illnesses are of short
duration (one-three days) and are not
• Sudden onset of severe vomiting or
diarrhea without any upper respiratory
• Diarrhea lasting several days along
with a fever
• Diarrhea with blood or excessive mucus
• Jaundice (yellowing skin or eyes)
Characteristics of Foodborne Illness:
• The agents that cause foodborne
illness cannot be tasted or smelled.
• Chances are your last meal was not the
source of your illness. The time delay
for common types of foodborne illness
can range from 30 minutes to more than
• You may feel fine for days following
ingestion of a foodborne pathogen
• Try to recall every meal, snack, and
drink taken during the five days before
your first symptoms.
• Also make note of all your activities
like travel, visitors, meetings,
shopping, contact with animals and
• In most cases antibiotic treatment is
not needed. However, if your illness
persists or gets worse, call your
• With most types of foodborne illness,
dehydration is a major concern. Drink
plenty of fluids. Your physician may
prescribe medicines to stop vomiting or
• When diarrhea is bloody, mucousy
persists more than two days, or if there
is a high fever, a stool culture is
• Without results of a stool culture,
investigation of the foodborne illness
is very difficult. Often only an
educated guess can be made as to what
caused the illness.
Transmission of Illness:
Many foodborne illnesses can be passed
from person to person. Transmission can
happen when people fail to wash their
hands properly after using the toilet,
before eating, touching their hands to
their mouth, or handling food.
Impact of Foodborne Illness:
• Each year foodborne illnesses
contributed to the deaths of thousands.
• The principal costs of foodborne
illness are pain, suffering, and lost
time from work.
• Botulism, a rare type usually
associated with improperly canned foods,
is life threatening.
CDC Foodborne Illness Page
Our Food Safety Page
Our Holiday Turkey Saftey Page
Reporting a Foodborne Illness
the Kane County Health Department
Environmental Health Division to report
suspect foodborne illness at
ONLINE FORM to report
|What to Do?
• Take your temperature with a body
thermometer (ear thermometers are safe
and effective) several times during the
course of the illness if possible.
• Seek medical attention in case of
severe dehydration, bloody stool,
mucousy stool, or a fever that lasts
more than 2 days.
• Call Kane County Health Department at
(630) 444-3040 if you suspect a meal is
causing your illness.
• Wash hands with plenty of warm soapy
water after using the toilet, before
eating or handling food.
• Also wash hands, utensils, cutting
boards and counters immediately after
preparing raw meats.
• Keep cold food less than 42ºF and hot
foods more than 135ºF.
• Cut roasts or turkey into smaller
chunks before refrigeration. Stock pots
of food must be broken down into
containers with food no more than 4”
deep. Rapid cooling is the goal.
• Cook all meats thoroughly so the
juices run clear, never bloody.
• Wash fruits and vegetables before
peeling or eating.
• Know your source: Purchase foods only
from reputable firms.
• Do not prepare foods for others when
you have symptoms of diarrhea, fever,
jaundice or vomiting.
Chances are you’re not the only one who
got sick! If we can find what caused
your illness, we may be able to prevent
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
says that fewer than 1 in 10 people tell
the health department about their
Foodborne illnesses are preventable.
Their cost to society is high. Together
we can win.