Clostridium perfringens Food Poisoning

Clostridium perfringens food poisoning is caused by the consumption of food containing a high concentration of Clostridium perfringens bacteria. The bacterial toxin responsible for the symptoms is produced inside the small intestine.

In most cases, the food poisoning due to Clostridium perfringens causes mild or moderate illness which resolve without any treatment. However, certain strains cause severe illness, causing damage to the small intestine called necrotic enteritis, which may become fatal due to septicemia. Meat and meat products are the usual foods contaminated by Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Thorough cooking of the food items may destroy some strains of the bacteria but not all.


Severe watery diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping is the usual symptom which appear within 6 hours to a day of eating food containing a large number of Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Distention of the abdomen due to gas accumulation may be present. Though the illness is often mild, severe dehydration resulting from frequent watery stools can lead to complications such as very low blood pressure, leading to shock. Usually the symptoms subside after 24 hours, without any treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of Clostridium perfringens food poisoning follows the news of an outbreak in the local area. Testing of the stool samples and the suspected food samples may help in confirming the diagnosis.

Treatment involves rehydration therapy and rest. Antibiotics are not usually used to treat the illness. Clostridium perfringens food poisoning can be prevented by proper handling of cooked meat which is not consumed immediately. It should be refrigerated without delay and should be thoroughly reheated before consumption.

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Yasser Elnahas

MD, PHD, Professor Of CardioVascular Surgery
Dr. Yasser Elnahas, Is an associate Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Elnahas was trained as a fellow At Texas Heart Institute And Mayo Clinic Foundation.Dr. Elnahas is dedicated to educating the general public about different disease conditions and simplifying the medical knowledge in an easy to understand terminology.

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