In a follow-up to a report last month of a gastrointestinal outbreak of unknown etiology on board the Princess Cruises vessel, Crown Princess, Vessel Sanitation Program officials are now reporting the causative agent of the outbreak that sickened nearly 200 passengers and crew was Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin.
Clostridium perfringens is a type of bacteria that can be found in a variety of foods, particularly meats, meat products, and gravy. Complications from C. perfingens occur when food is left at an unsafe temperature, and bacteria multiply in the food prior to consumption.
Emetic toxins produced by Clostridium perfringens bacteria are characterized by intense abdominal cramps and diarrhea which begin 8-22 hours after consumption of foods containing large numbers of those Clostridium perfringens bacteria capable of producing the toxin. The illness is usually over within 24 hours but less severe symptoms may persist in some individuals for 1 or 2 weeks.
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