People at Risk From Food Poisoning
Anyone can get food poisoning, but certain groups of people are more likely to get sick and to have a more serious illness. Their bodies’ ability to fight germs and sickness is not as effective for a variety of reasons. These groups of people are:
Adults Aged 65 and Older
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.
Children Younger Than 5 Years
Young children have immune systems that are still developing, so their body’s ability to fight germs and sickness isn’t as strong. Food poisoning can be particularly dangerous for them because illness can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Children younger than 5 are three times more likely to be hospitalized if they get a Salmonella infection. And kidney failure strikes 1 out of 7 children under age 5 who are diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection.
People With Weakened Immune Systems
People with weakened immune systems due to diabetes, liver or kidney disease, alcoholism, and HIV/AIDS; or receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy cannot fight germs and sickness as effectively. For example, people on dialysis are 50 times more likely to get a Listeria infection.
Food Poisoning and Pregnancy
- Listeria – Older Adults
- Food Safety for Older Adults
- Food Safety Concerns for Children Under Five
- Listeria – People with Weakened Immune Systems
- Food Safety for People with Diabetes
- Food Safety for People with Cancer
- Food Safety for People with HIV/AIDS
- Food Safety for Transplant Recipients
- Listeria – Pregnant Women and Newborns
- Food Safety for Pregnant Women
- Page last reviewed: February 14, 2018
- Page last updated: April 18, 2018
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