We all know that gastrointestinal infections such as by Salmonella and Campylobacter from contaminated food can be very nasty. In a few cases, they can be fatal.
But they are much nastier, and more tenacious, than any of us realized, and could have an effect on our health up to a year after we were infected. New research from Denmark has gone so far as to claim that a food infection could be fatal 12 months later.
The researchers, from the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, looked at the progress of 48,857 people after they had a food infection, and compared them with 487,138 who had not been infected. They found that those infected were three times as likely to die within a year as those in the healthy group, after taking into account other factors. This was a trend that also emerged six months after infection.
Not only can these infections have a serious long-term effect, they could also be far more dangerous in the immediate term.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2003; 326: 357-60).