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    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Killed by His Fondness for Peter Pan Peanut Butter: The salmonella in the peanut butter has been confirmed. If you have eaten peanut butter and have gotten sick, call the doctor, or maybe not:

    But going to the emergency room or to one's private physician doesn't guarantee appropriate treatment. Wilma of Mooresville, N.C., said she went to the emergency room after being sick for several days.

    "I was feeling dizzy, still nauseated, and numb on the left side of my face. I thought I might be having a stroke. The ER did a CAT scan and came back with the general idea that I was suffering from a sinus infection due to the fact that they saw that my nasal passages were clogged," she said.

    "They gave me prescriptions for antibiotics, and decongestants for my lungs which did not help at all, since I did not have a sinus infection," she said.

    Patricia of Spirit Lake, Fla., became alarmed after she and her four children became ill after eating the recalled peanut butter. She called and emergency room and was told there is no test for Salmonella poisoning.

    In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, salmonellosis is diagnosed through serological identification of culture isolated from stool.

    Yes, that's true, although it takes a few days to get the results back, and you have to be able to produce a stool specimen in the emergency room while you're there if you want them to send it off for you. And then, too, there's the fact that the emergency room is for, you know, emergencies. They're organized around acute illnesses that can be treated and streeted or admitted to the hospital. So, when the emergency room said there was "no test," the person on the other end of the phone probably meant it wasn't one they could easily do or would do in the emergency room.

    As for the sinus infection, the patient did complain of symptoms that are not typical for Salmonella and which would lead most physicians to think of sinus or central nervous system disorders. They most likely saw the sinus infection on the CT scan which they did to rule out a stroke - which she thought she was having.

    The FDA is urging you to call you doctor, nonetheless:

    Physicians and public health officials are concerned by reports that consumers are trying to "tough it out" and are not seeking medical care for Salmonella, especially when the ill person is a senior, a child or has an existing medical condition.

    "Individuals who have recently eaten the affected Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter and who have experienced any symptoms of Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider immediately," according to the FDA.

    "Symptoms include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. For persons in poor health or with weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections."

    It can be a deadly illness in someone who is in frail health already - an infant or a very elderly person, for example. For healthy people, the biggest risk is from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance if the diarrhea is severe. Here are some basic salmonella facts:

    Symptoms usually develop 6 - 72 hours after bacteria are swallowed. Symptoms may disappear untreated in 2 to 5 days. Symptoms include:

    * Diarrhea
    * Stomach cramps
    * Headache
    * Fever
    * Vomiting (sometimes)
    * Dehydration, especially among infants and the elderly.

    ....Salmonella infection can be diagnosed from a stool sample.
    * Most people get rid of the bacteria on their own without any treatment.
    * Drink plenty of liquids (clean water, juices, soup) to prevent dehydration (fluid loss).

    So, if you are healthy and have a couple of loose stools after eating Peter Pan, you do not have to run to the emergency room. And in fact, there's a case to be made for avoiding antibiotics unless the diarrhea is severe or you fall into the frail health category.

    posted by Sydney on 2/23/2007 11:48:00 PM 1 comments


    The ED cure for diarrhea is handing the patient a cup and saying "we need a stool specimen". I doubt people with normal BM's would be able to do so.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 AM  

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