Recently, there were reports in the media of people who had fallen ill and some died after eating uninspected meat. Though the cost of food continues to rise and it is tempting to buy cheap meats from unregulated sources, that should not be an option if you value your health and that of your family. Today, I will highlight some of the diseases that you can contract from eating uninspected meat and how to take caution.
One of the most well-known diseases that can be contracted from consuming uninspected meat is anthrax. Most of the victims have succumbed to this. Anthrax is a serious bacterial infection that can be transmitted through the consumption of contaminated meat, and contact with infected animals or their products, such as wool or hides. The causative agent of anthrax is a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis, which is found in soil and can contaminate meat through contact with infected animals or their products.
Anthrax may present in three forms: cutaneous, respiratory and gastrointestinal. Symptoms of anthrax include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea and bloody diarrhoea. If left untreated, anthrax can lead to serious complications, including sepsis and death.
Salmonella infection is caused by the bacteria Salmonella, which can be found in raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea, which may be bloody. In severe cases, salmonella infection can lead to dehydration, sepsis (a serious bloodstream infection), and death.
coli infection is caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is found in raw or undercooked beef, poultry meat and pork. Symptoms of E. coli infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea (which may be bloody), and vomiting. In severe cases, E. coli infection can lead to kidney failure, sepsis and death. E. coli infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have the illness.
Trichinellosis, also known as trichinosis, is an infection caused by the parasite Trichinella, which is found in raw or undercooked pork and wild game. Symptoms of trichinellosis include muscle pain, fever, and swelling of the face and eyes. In severe cases, trichinellosis can lead to heart, lung, and brain damage, as well as death. Trichinellosis can be treated with medications to kill the parasites, but it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have the illness.
How to keep yourself safe?
Always buy meat from reputable sources that are properly inspected by the public health officials. Also avoid meat slaughtered in the bush, and cook meat thoroughly, especially pork to kill any potentially harmful pathogens. It is prudent to store meat properly to prevent contamination and wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat to avoid cross-contaminating other foods with raw meat juices. If you are unsure about the safety of the meat you are buying, it is best to err on the side of caution and choose a different source of protein.
[The writer is a Veterinary Surgeon and the Resident Vet at Farmkenya]