Aug 10, 2004, 9:50 PM
Post #25 of 26
....Apparently, whatever one gets into the system from eating something infected can be transmitted to another through saliva, etc. I didn't know that these things could be transmitted from one person to another and not just through food....
As indicated in an earlier post in this message thread, traveler's diarrhea can come from a variety of infectious agents including bacteria, viruses, and parasites such as certain enteric protozoan. This broad spectrum of causal agents is repeated in the case of foodborne illnesses. One common theme is that saliva itself isn't considered to be much of a vector for transmission of either traveler's diarrhea or foodborne illnesses, particularly in the case of those caused by bacteria and protozoa. In the case of viruses some are found in saliva (the noroviruses, as an example, but noteither HIV or HBV unless there's blood present) but typically they're at concentrations several orders of magnitude lower than what's found in feces.
It's the control of fecal contamination that's a serious consideration for the control of foodborne illnesses. Contamination to foodstuffs can occur during the initial stages of bringing a foodstuff to market (slaughter, as an example, or during harvesting and packing) or during the preparation of meals. Once the ilness is introduced into a living group (family, dormitory, or military encampment) transmission can occur without the intermediary of food contamination. In the case of infants and younger children, who don't have well developed personal hygiene practices, the possibility and routes of transmission are obvious. In the case of adults, however, it's often written off because "my spouse", "my roomate", or "the other squad members" all know how to wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Unfortunately, in the case illnesses characterized by diarrhea, the sufferer may not be fully cognizant of their actions, or after the 8th run for the loo may stop being as meticulous in their handwashing as they should be (time yourself and see if you actually hit the 30 second soap+running water handwash taught to food handlers). From the hands of the sufferer contamination then can be passed directly to the hands of others, or via surfaces, food and/or utensils.