If we are attacked by germs all the time, why there are still thousands of deaths from food poisoning ?


What makes those special cases “special”, is there some germs that kill us while all the others are harmless ?

In: Biology

Mad Cow disease kills you because it’s not the common cold. It depends on what the virus, parasite or bacteria is entering your body. Or tide pod that burns all your insides.

You are correct, some germ are harmless to us, or at least while our immune system is strong. It’s when your immune system is overwhelmed or unable to fight that infections take hold.

I’d say the thing with food poisoning is that the digestive tract doesn’t have the immune response present to fight against a possible infection. Bear in mind the tract is full of other microbes and food, so when a new microbe comes in it has it easier than through the skin.

People not only did from food poisoning. Infections, they kill a lot of people.

Many different kinds of food born pathogens. Listeria, fecal cloriforms, ecolli etc we do build up an immunity to the local ‘flora’ and getting “Moctazuma’s revenge” is what happens when you travel to areas with a different version of fecal cloriforms in the water (and apparently it works both ways too)

But like with deaths from covid, food poisoning hits the elderly and infants harder.

I’m sorry if this isn’t ELI5, but I’ll try my best:

When you say food poisoning, you aren’t actually being affected by the bacteria, in the food. The bacteria in the food already have some toxins in them, which get released upon consumption of said food, and hence the symptoms you get from food poisoning. That’s why it’s food poisoning, and not food infection.

Now, your body tries to rid itself of the poison, so it essentially flushes your bowels and stomach via diarrhea and vomiting.

*Staphylococcus aureus* and *Bacillus cereus* are two bacteria that cause very rapid food poisoning (we’re talking within an hour).

Now, there are also other types of bacteria (eg: *Shigella flexneri* and *Salmonella typhi*) which don’t have these premade toxins. Instead they attack your gut and multiply, and then the cause the damage. This takes longer than the pre formed toxins, about 2-3 days, usually 5 days.

Onto the other thing, your body is full of ‘germs’. And they are very very vital to your survival. We call them non-pathogenic’ bacteria (read as: not disease causing bacteria).

They keep other harmful bacteria from growing, and also perform some essential tasks( like making sure you get enough Vitamin K).

Here’s an interesting fact for you: The bacteria that causes Tetanus (clostridium tetani), is laughably weak. It can’t invade your akin, and it dies if exposed to oxygen.
**However** it makes a truly deadly toxin, that causes violent spasms of nearly all muscles of your body, eventually leading to death.

Quantity. The inside and outside of your body benefits from a certain level of germs. You get sick when there are too many or too few. Dead food (unplugged plants and dead animals) have no immune system themselves so germs can reach great numbers unopposed on food. Food gives germs a place to build their numbers up. When germs are few and touch the inside (eating) or outside (skin contact) of our body they are easy for our immune system to fight, but when germs come in such large numbers, it is difficult for the body to fight them off. Your body evolved to recognize that a faster way to deal with germs is to push the food back out (puking) or to flush them through the body quickly like with excess water (watery poop).

That is the best-case scenario. Factor in any events that weaken your immune system and even puking or pooping may not be good enough. What germs did stick to your tummy are still too many for your body to fight off, so they reproduce in your tummy’s walls then ride to other parts of your body.