Older adults have a higher risk because as people age, their immune systems and organs don’t recognize and get rid of harmful germs as well as they once did. Nearly half of people aged 65 and older who have a lab-confirmed foodborne illness from Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria or E. coli are hospitalized.
Adults age 65 and older are at a higher risk for hospitalization and death from foodborne illness. This increased risk of foodborne illness is because organs and body systems go through changes as people age: The gastrointestinal tract holds onto food for a longer period of time, allowing bacteria to grow.
Older adults, pregnant woman and young children are among the most vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. People with compromised immune systems are also at risk. If you’ve ever become sick after eating a food contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, it’s not an experience you want to repeat.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning. Not only do they contract foodborne illnesses at a higher rate than other segments of society, they are also more likely to need prolonged medical attention because of it.
Why Are Older Adults More Vulnerable? As adults age, certain factors can weaken the immune systems, making it harder to fight off bacteria and serious illness. Older adults may produce less stomach acid, which helps to control bacteria, and weakened kidneys may struggle to filter bacteria from the blood.
This increased risk is because organs and body systems change as the body ages. The digestive system holds food longer, allowing bacteria to grow while the stomach may not produce enough acid to limit the number of intestinal bacteria. The liver and kidneys may not properly rid the body of foreign bacteria and toxins.
Foodborne illness is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes or pathogens can contaminate foods, so there are many different types of foodborne illnesses. Most foodborne diseases are infections caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Top 5 Foodborne Illness Risk Factors
High-risk foods are those that are most likely to cause food poisoning. High-risk foods, also called potentially hazardous foods, are foods that have ideal conditions for bacterial growth, and are therefore more likely to harbour dangerous bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens like viruses and parasites.
How can you prevent foodborne illness?
What is the greatest threat to food safety? Of all the microorganisms, bacteria are the greatest threat to food safety. Bacteria are single-celled, living organisms that can grow quickly at favorable temperatures.