Staph aureus food poisoning is an illness that results from eating food contaminated with a toxin produced by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Staphylococcus aureus food poisoning is often caused when a food handler contaminates food products that are served or stored at room- or refrigerator temperature. Common examples of such foods are desserts (especially custards and cream filled- or topped desserts), salads (especially those containing mayonnaise), or baked goods.
The bacteria multiplies rapidly in the food, and a large colony of bacteria may be present without evidence of food spoilage. Risk factors include:
- Ingestion of food prepared by a person with a skin infection (these infections commonly contain Staphylococcus aureus )
- Ingestion of food kept at room temperature
- Ingestion of improperly prepared food
- Symptoms occurring in persons eating the same food.
Symptoms usually appear within 4 to 6 hours. The disease is common in the U.S.